I received a $25 gift certificate from Family Christian in exchange for a post about the Fourth of July. All editorial direction, opinions, and thoughts are my own. All the photos are mine and all the graphics are pictures from creative commons with my text overlay. The text is obviously from the Bible.
My heart is heavy but hopeful as I write this blog. One would think that a blog about the Fourth of July should be all sparkle and fireworks but that’s not where my heart is right now. I’m asking for forgiveness in advance because this will be one of those blogs where I ramble and share my heart, not one where I have tons of pretty pictures and happy thoughts.
My heart has been increasingly heavy at how far we have fallen out of God’s will as a nation. No, not fallen. We’ve chosen to move farther and farther to where I don’t think we can really call ourselves a Christian nation anymore. It feels hopeless. It feels infuriating. It feels almost dangerous and threatening.
Directive to the nations
I firmly believe the promises found in Psalm 33:12 that says nations who choose God as Lord will be his heritage.
But you know what that also means? That the nations who do not choose God as Lord will not be chosen as his heritage. They will not prosper. We will fall out of favor and be destroyed.
2 Cor. 3:17 also is pretty plain when it tells us that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. That means that where the Spirit is not, there is not freedom. That seems pretty cause and effect to me. We seem to think we have freedom in this country but we are slowly enslaving ourselves. Enslaving ourselves to pride, to political correctness, to the need to be offended.
It seems like the obvious answer comes in 2 Chronicles 7:14. That verse tells us that if God’s people humble themselves and pray, seek God, and turn from their wickedness, they will be forgiven and their land will be healed.
Sounds easy, right? If everyone in America just decides to follow God and turn back to his will, things will be all better. That isn’t going to happen and to think it will strikes me as absurd. My understanding of prophecy says that the closer to the end times that we get, the more people will reject God. This has filled my heart with fear because I don’t want to live in a country that rejects God and as a result gets overcome. I’m pretty fond of our relatively free way of life, at least compared to other nations.
I was talking to a friend tonight about several deep subjects and one of those was fear. How fear is not trusting God and is instead taking the world on our own shoulders, as if we have some control and say over the universe.
In pondering this thought on my way home, I felt God telling me something. Nations don’t have to be bound by geographic lines. We as believers in the ever-living God are our own nation. It’s up to us to turn from our own wickedness and ask forgiveness so our own land will be healed. I don’t think land has to necessarily mean a piece of property. I think it can also refer to the heart of the nation, our foundation.
Responsible for me
In the recent discussions about race, I’ve come to realize that I have a lot to learn. I was raised to treat all people with respect and compassion but that isn’t enough. I’ve come to realize that I’ve let a lot of the political correctness noise around this issue interfere with my understanding and worse, my compassion for human beings God created. I recently vowed to take responsibility for my own beliefs and my own actions instead of letting the “but this” and “but thats” get in the way.
Why am I sharing these revelations about my role in racism? It’s because I’m realizing that my role as a Christian in America should be similar. I am only responsible for me. Turning my face to God. Humbling myself. Turning from my wicked ways. I can only control me.
Now don’t get me wrong. I will still give voice to what I believe is right in our government. Although I do not talk politics out of personal preference and professional ethical standards, I will still support our country doing what I believe is right based on my meager understanding of the Bible. I will vote. I will work with those who disagree with me to find common ground. I will pray.
Another verse in the Bible is one that is often quoted on plaques and other home decorations. Honestly? It almost feels cliché until you read the entire verse. Joshua 24:15 tells us that we have a choice to serve the Lord or not. We have choices of which way of life we will follow. The end statement is what gets quoted: “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
This is what I declare for me, myself and I. When John and I got married we declared this for our marriage and home as well but in this moment I can only speak for me. We will never be perfect at this. I will never be perfect at this. It seems only possible to continually seek (God’s) face. To continually turn from my wicked ways. To continually humble myself.
I’m the type of person who needs practical ways to achieve these seemingly wild ideas God gives me. The practical side shows me it’s not so wild after all. When God gives us a directive, he gives us the path to complete that directive.
Most who know me realize I’m not usually very confrontational. But I can declare my beliefs and more importantly, I can live out my beliefs. I can work at learning the right words to push back against bullies.
I plan to continue doing this in my writing and dealings with others. But I also feel the need to remind myself and share with others in a tactile way.
I recently found some really cute t-shirts at Family Christian book store that has either Psalm 33:12 or 1 Cor. 3:17 on them (they are on sale right now, by the way). I often feel cliché when I wear cute sayings on t-shirts but this is different. For one, it’s not a cliche. It’s Scriptural truth.
Most people will see a patriotic/religious t-shirt and move on. It’s my responsibility to not move on. I plan to wear my t-shirt not so much as a declaration for others but as a reminder for myself.
A reminder to be a nation of one and a member of a larger nation that serves the Lord.