The other day, I heard a Christian radio talk show host repeat our national motto, “In God we trust.” She said it as if it were true. I only wish.
I think God would be shocked to think that our nation, or even a majority of our nation, truly believes that. But before you begin thinking I’m some kind of closet liberal or that this may be true of all the non-Christians in America, but not of evangelicals, think again. I believe most people who call themselves evangelicals don’t actually live out, “In God we trust.” Lest you think I’m being cynical, just think of the things we personally trust in to keep us safe and secure, so we don’t have to trust completely in God to provide:
On a national level, we trust in:
A strong military.
Conservative elected representatives to protect us.
A conservative political agenda.
It’s ironic that God warned Israel about trusting in anything other than him. To the nation of Israel or their leaders, he said;
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Psalm 20:7
“They were helped in fighting them, and God delivered the Hagrites and all their allies into their hands, because they cried out to him during the battle. He answered their prayers, because they trusted in him.” 1 Chronicles 5:20
“Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the Lord.” Isaiah 31:1
Here’s the point; I don’t believe America is a Christian nation. I don’t say that as a criticism, but as a statement of fact. I don’t believe it ever was. It is true that America was founded by a majority of men and women who were Christians and that many of our laws are based on what we call the “judeo-Chrisitan worldview.” But unlike Israel, we have no assurance from God that America was “his,” as Israel was. The people of Israel were the only nation I’m aware of that God pledged himself to, and them to a man, to him.
“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
“’We will serve the Lord’ (all the people said). Then Joshua said, ‘You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the Lord.’ ‘Yes, we are witnesses,’ they replied.” Joshua 24:21-22
Christians live in the kingdom of God, spiritual aliens in the U.S., or any other country in which they live. We are only legal citizens of the U.S. “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Philippians 3:20
I believe it’s presumptuous for American Christians to repeat “In God we trust” personally or nationally, unless you intend to live fully dependent on God.
So, what is a Christian to do?
Vote as Jesus’ surrogate. Cast your vote for every candidate who reflects the character and values Jesus would approve of, regardless of their party. (Why would we not want that kind of government?)
Be patriotic, but not to the detriment of the poor and the powerless. Jesus would never support policies or laws that give preference to the rich, the influential and educated. “Look out, not only for your own interests, but the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4
Our highest allegiance is to Jesus and his kingdom, not the U.S. Now, take a minute and reflect on how you voted in the last election and the positions you advocate with your friends. Would Jesus be proud of how you represented him as his surrogate?
How following Jesus works in real life.
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