Hebrews 11:13-15 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
I love America. I am thankful for our constitution, and the Bill of rights. I value the first amendment and the free speech and religious liberty it promises. I appreciate the second amendment, and its guard against tyranny. I’m thankful for the fifth and sixth amendments and for our justice system. People may criticize our system of justice, but their minds would change in a quick second if they found themselves at odds with the law in China, Russia, and most other countries in the world. I’m thankful for our constitutional republic, and the ability to elect local and national leaders who are, in turn, responsible to the people whom they serve.
I’ve been to the Grand Canyon, the White House, Niagara Falls, The Lincoln Monument, The Smokey Mountains, The Supreme Court House, Yosemite, Sears Tower, to many states, and a host of other breathtaking and American-spirit filled places in this country. America is a beautiful place. America is a spirited place.
I’m thankful for the Judeo-Christian principles that our country was founded upon. I’m thankful for the many thousands of churches that, over the years, have proclaimed truth in this land. I’m thankful for the many missionaries that have been sent from the US to counties all around the world, and the light America showed to the world for a couple of centuries.
I’m a patriot. I don’t really get Americans (especially American Christians) that slam American patriotism like it’s an anti-biblical philosophy. Men and women in the Bible (naturally) loved their country, prayed for its peace, and loved its success. Furthermore, people in other lands (mission fields, foreign countries) love their country, its culture, and heritage, and its people (and they should). I won’t accept the label of “Christian nationalist” because I’m patriotic. I love the flag, those who died for it, and what it affords us.
I’m an American through and through. But there is an inherent danger in living in such a prosperous, free, democratic, religious nation. It is this: I can put all of my stock in life in this country and forget that I’m a citizen of another one. Hebrews 11 reminds me that, as much as I love this country, I’m a citizen of a better country. Hebrews 11 reminds me that I should be seeking that country. And I must be careful that I don’t become so American-focused that I struggle to be heavenly-minded.
I love the Constitution, but the Bible is where I get my theology. I’m thankful for the flag, but I’m called to identify with the cross. We may pledge allegiance to the flag, but our true allegiance is to the Lamb. I’m thankful for the prosperity, but my investments should be in heaven. I love living here, but I must be willing to follow God’s will if He calls me to a foreign land. I’m conservative politically, but first, I’m conservative biblically. I’m a constitutionalist, but first, I’m a Biblicist. I’m for grassroots campaigns, but I’d rather go soul-winning and share the Gospel. I’d rather attend faithfulness rally than a political rally. I know about pulling myself up by my boots, but I also remember that I can do nothing without Christ. I’m for secure borders, but I’m also called to love the stranger among us. I’m upset with the anti-Christian sentiment and vitriol today, but I remember that I’m called to love my enemies. It’s good when justice is served, but I recall Christ asking, “Father, forgive them.” I’m thankful for my freedom of speech, but I’m reminded that it should be with grace, and seasoned with salt. I’m for self-defense and protection, but I’m also reminded that as much as lies within us, we are to love peaceably with all men. I’m thankful when we score a “political victory”, but reminded that in victory or defeat, we’re called to be clothed in humility. And why? Because I’m a citizen of a better country, and I seek that country first.
Let’s be thankful for the country that God has given to us. But let us also remember that we seek a better country. Our identity, our affection, our conversation, our lifestyle, our investment, our stakes, our stocks, and our pursuits, of our heavenly citizenship, should take precedence every single time. I’m thankful for America, but first, I’m a citizen of heaven. And because of it, I seek a better country.
Pride distances us from God’s blessings because pride removes God from our minds.
When we prioritize God as Jehoshaphat did, we unlock blessings that have a profound impact on our lives.