Our 41-year-old, non-believing son is extremely proud of his country. He loves America and is frustrated that it’s no longer the dominant nation it was back in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Donald Trump’s message of “We’re going to make America great again” resonates with my son somewhat. But he’s also convinced the country’s top politicians and business leaders are conspiring with other world leaders to bring about the “New World Order,” which means a much weaker United States in their supposed grand scheme.
I know A LOT of Christians are patriotic. Many could even be called nationalistic. Me? The moment we accept Christ we become citizens of Heaven. We are only sojourners and emissaries of our Father for our remaining time here on Earth. Yes, we are to pray for our governmental authorities so that the Gospel can continue to go out unhindered, but our sights should be on our Heavenly home, NOT on this world. When we get up to Heaven, the Lord won’t care if we were Canadian citizens or American citizens. He’ll only want to know if we used the gifts He gave us to point others to Him. Many American Christians have made their country into an idol. Trump? Hillary? I can’t get too excited over any politician or any political party.
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” – Colossians 3:1-4
“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” – Hebrews 11:13-16
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21
If American evangelical Christians got half as worked up about Jesus Christ as they do about their country and politics we would see great things done in the name of the Lord. Can any believer point out to me where national pride is extolled in the New Testament? Unfortunately, generations of American evangelical pastors got sucked into mixing national idolatry with the Gospel.
My son and I have talked about politics many, many times and I always try to use it as an opportunity to talk to him about the Lord. Yes, many alarming things are happening in this country including the increasing threat of terrorism, the rising national debt, the elimination of the middle-class, continuing racial divisions, attacks on the traditional family and “morality,” etc. It’s all a nightmare without Jesus Christ. How does my son or anyone else make sense of it without Christ? When my son frets about ISIS, I bring him back to the story of Ishmael and Isaac in Genesis. The Lord foresaw the conflict 4000 years ago. God doesn’t hit people over the head with proof of His existence but one need only look at the nation of Israel – the size of the state of New Jersey – and see how the entire world spins around that one, small country to realize there just might be a little something to God and His promises.
The Lord is still on His throne. When we allow ourselves to become entangled in worldly concerns and temporal pridefulness we risk becoming useless servants for our King in Heaven.