Our plans are set to stake our spot in the median for our community's upcoming parade and our girls will not stop asking when we’ll go see the fireworks. The realtor-couple who resides in our neighborhood has already been up and down our streets, placing flags in everyone’s front lawn at the curb -- of course each bearing a flyer advertising their home selling and buying services. Everything seems to be in order for a great Fourth of July.
Or is it?
Each year at this time, I try to make a conscious effort to think about our great country and the freedoms that we enjoy as citizens of this country. But yet I have to admit: over these past few years, it’s gotten harder and harder to focus on the positives or even appreciate them for what they are when it comes to the United States of America.
I’m sure you’ve heard it, too – or possibly even said it – before: this country is headed down the wrong path. And as a Christian with morals, can you really argue? The “war” on the unborn is only raging stronger, domestic violence is rising at an alarming rate, the breakdown of the family unit is apparent on so many levels and the “attack” on conservative values and morals is becoming quite the daily occurrence in the news and media. We live in a country where we seem to reward some for not working and penalize others for doing just that. We proclaim “love for all” by adopting an “anything goes” policy until seemingly no one stands for anything and all of us just seem to blur together into one mass of watered-down human beings.
How’s that for an uplifting cause for celebration?
But I also ask you: what by complaining and wallowing in the way things are headed are we gaining? When we spout off about the government and all it’s doing to trample out any sort of moral code while failing to make any mention of possible solutions or thankfulness for the freedom we do enjoy, we only breed further frustration and resentment for all of the freedoms that have indeed been given to us.
As we have opportunity to celebrate yet another birthday of our country, I want to take a second to encourage you, as a Christian, to take a different approach. I am by no means saying that I do not agree with above statements -- in fact, quite the contrary is true. In my opinion, this country could use a swift kick in the pants and a sit down talk about morals and values. But dare we forget who has established our government – no matter how much we may dislike them – and who remains in ultimate control.
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which Goad has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. ~Romans 13:1
In each of our own day-to-day lives, it is easy to lose sight of what we have been blessed with: the ability to head to our church of choice on a weekly (or even more often!) basis, the opportunity to pray openly before each meal and heading to bed each night, the incredible gift of owning multiple copies of the greatest Book ever written…the list goes on. For me, it is difficult to even imagine living a life without these freedoms and almost impossible for me to grasp the fact that there are those in this world who do so on a daily basis.
So just what are we as Christians ought to do? First of all, we should all begin by hitting our knees and thanking our heavenly Father for ability to continue to worship Him freely and openly. Secondly, we should be sure to thank those who serve and have served in our Armed Forces to defend these freedoms and give us all something that we can truly be proud of.
Also, continue to fight! Don’t stop talking about politics and your feelings on the way things are headed but refuse to get caught up in the “all is lost” mentality while doing so. Encourage others by sharing your convictions and offering solutions where they may be found. Perhaps you are a person that could find time in your schedule to volunteer for a cause or campaign you feel strongly about or maybe even run for a public office of some sort.
But above all else, you can pray. Pray for our leaders. Pray that our freedoms may continue. Pray for God to lead you in a direction to help bring positive change and restore morality in your way, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. After all, we know that this world is simply a stepping stone to our heavenly home and the Lord has promised to come and take us back to that home with Him when He deems it necessary. Since that hasn’t happened yet, we can assume our jobs here are not over.
Keep your eye on the prize, your gaze heavenward, and on this Fourth of July, may you thank the Master of the Universe for your freedoms – both in the earthly and the heavenly sense.
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body. ~Phillipians 3:20-21