Enjoying the Journey
A few days ago I put a copy of the United States Constitution in my briefcase as I left for a trip. On board a flight I determined to read it through at one sitting, slowly and thoughtfully.
As a Christian I am a citizen of Heaven (Philippians 3:20). In the words of the old song, “This world is not my home, I’m just passing through!”
Yet in the good providence of God the Lord allowed me to be born in the United States. I am very grateful for the privilege of living in a free land. I am glad to be an American. Every blessing is also a responsibility. We are stewards of each gift God gives us, and I am convinced that the Lord expects His people to represent Him and seek to influence others in the place where He has placed us.
When God sent His people Israel into exile He commanded them to “seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace” (Jeremiah 29:7). Even in Babylon the Lord’s children had an assignment! What happens in a nation directly affects the Lord’s people and the advancement of the gospel (Read 1 Timothy 2:1-4).
Patriotism is no substitute for faith in God and obedience to His Word. Jonah is a reminder of that! Likewise, to say that people of faith should have no interest or involvement in the affairs of their nation is to ignore a basic truth: God does not divide the life of a believer into sacred and secular. Christians should be the best citizens in any nation.
As an evangelist I work hard to keep myself free from political entanglements. I believe the greatest need of our nation is the gospel and I can declare that same message to all people. Government can never do what God can do. But we must also remember that God ordained government and we have a responsibility to it. My part in politics is to pray for those in authority, preach the truth of God’s Word, and encourage believers to be the best citizens they can be as a witness for Christ.
As I read through the US Constitution again I was reminded that our God is good, our founders were wise, and our nation has been blessed. I was impressed with the reality that free people must stay engaged if the freedom is to continue. Here are my reflections…
- Our representative branch of government deserves as much attention as the executive branch. It is actually addressed first! It’s not just about a president. One man does not choose the direction of the nation – we choose it at the state and local level.
- The government exists to protect the people and the people are to keep the government in check. They work for us (“we the people”), and we all answer to God.
- The amendments are as important as the articles. Get acquainted with the Bill of Rights!
- The freedom of speech, press, assembly, and petition all grow out of freedom of religion because all true liberty is built upon the foundation of freedom of conscience (Read Amendment 1 and observe the order). If we lose the freedom of religion we will soon lose all of the rest.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “We in America do not have a government by the majority – we have government by the majority who participate…All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”
It is time for our people to take seriously the responsibilities of citizenship. Those responsibilities begin in the place of prayer, but they do not stop there. Find your place and do your part.