Ah, the fourth has come and gone, but every day should be a day of patriotism in the United States. How blessed are we to live in a country that abounds in the essence of life? I believe there is one quality that stands out among the many great qualities America possesses. This is Freedom. The fourth is merely a reminder of what the other 364 days should look like. It’s the embodiment of thankfulness for freedom-true freedom at that-which is the very essence of patriotism. Not only is it thankfulness, it is celebration.
A patriot is simply a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors. This is a term I would deem for myself. I believe to have what’s best for America at heart, as do many others. However, my love for this beautiful country and my patriotism are merely a reflection, a shadow of the true patriotism that has been planted deep within my heart.
Can you see it?
America’s best-America’s potential-is a shadow of what Christ is. The one who offers freedom. Don’t get me wrong-America is nowhere near the perfection found in Christ. It is, however, a wonderful portrait of it. America celebrates freedom, and you have reason to celebrate it too, if you’re a Christian.
My little brother and best friend called me a couple of nights ago just to talk. Being gone for an entire summer has been hard for us, but I love hearing what’s been going on in his life. I love being his big brother. We reveled in something we both battle. We both feel lonely sometimes. As I pondered on it, my loneliness has always driven me towards God. That’s a good loneliness-the one my brother and I dip into. However, there is also a poor loneliness, one that is dark. The darkness this loneliness holds comes from captivity, it comes from being a slave- a slave to sin, and a slave to self worship. Do you ever feel lonely? I can tell you, there is freedom. There is a way out. There is true happiness, seeking after you, if only you’ll reach out to it.
As I was reading in my Bible today, Psalm 119 was on my heart.
“Blessed are those whose way is blameless…who seek him with their whole heart…” (119:1-2). As I sat and admired David for his pursuit of the Lord, it hit me. This could be me. Friends, this can be all of us. When the Spirit dwells within us, we are on the road to looking like Jesus. The value of walking blamelessly lies within you and God, not you and others. Of what value is it that others think you are pure? Seek God’s heart and seek true blamelessness, where purity lies within. It is fulfilling. It is lasting. It is good.
Now remember, it is impossible to look at a commandment and do it. When Jesus says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself,” remember the first part of the verse. To love your neighbor as yourself-to do any commandment, any exhortation given, one must first seek God, and the goodness will come.
As I said earlier, a patriot is simply a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies. A patriot for the gospel is deeper. Vigorous support is not enough; it is truly giving your life for the cause that makes you a patriot. (Galatians 2:20)
Let me be clear, friends. America does not perfectly emulate the gospel-but has certain qualities that portray certain beauties. Flags come and go, nations fall and nations rise. As much as it bitters my tongue to say it, America’s end will come, but remember friends; it is only a shadow. The true celebration comes at the cross-and that, my friends, will never fade. It is everlasting.