Wednesday, September 15, 2010

God Bless His Kingdom!

From a series of articles-

God bless His kingdom!

The kingdom inaugurated by Jesus imparts and manifests God’s will; its citizens are the light of the world – the city on a hill. No kingdom of the world can usurp that role or be assumed to be aligned with the will of God, and pledging one’s allegiance to a kingdom of the world creates a conflict of interest equivalent to serving both God and mammon. Why would Christians want to pledge their brotherhood to atheists and pagans of their own nation while ignoring their brothers and sisters in Christ living in other nations? We are called to pray for our leaders, but why do Christians ask God to bless up to our national borders and no further?* The map of the kingdom of God knows no national boundaries.

What attracts us so to our national flag? It’s not about God. If Christianity here died out completely, the flag would remain the same. No, it’s all about us and our collective ego. It is a reflection of our basic human drive for status, the assertion of our superiority, ultimately the sin of pride. Think of the nation as one big sports team. We want it to win to demonstrate our collective superiority to the other nations of the world and, by extension, our superiority as individuals on this winning team. We want to give ourselves and our ancestors the glory that belongs to God, because we believe we've earned it. God says: “I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.” (Isaiah 42:8)

In addition to expressing our pride in ourselves the national flag provides a means of expressing our gratitude for the freedoms and prosperity we enjoy. But Christians should ask themselves, “To what or whom, exactly, does my gratitude belong? What has ‘my country’ given me that God cannot? Who is the source of my security, the focus of my identity?” They should consider the possibility that, as an expression of collective self-worship, patriotism is idolatry. Such national narcissism dilutes our allegiance to the kingdom of God and blinds us to the reality that our country has an agenda that diverges from the teachings of Christ. It lulls us into a false security that we can trust in something other than God - something we can see - yet have His stamp of approval on it. We are not called to love a country or endorse its actions but we are called to love God, our neighbors and our enemies (Mark 12:30-31, Luke 6:27-28). We exist to love. And that is sufficient. Patriotism is the world’s counterfeit for this higher calling, one that suggests: “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy” (Mat 5:43-44). As such, it readily accepts opportunities to go to war. God desires nothing from us that requires patriotism.

Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. . .as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

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