National Pride or Worship of God?

1 Timothy 2:1-7 ESV

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.”

Government Worship Indoctrination

I live in the USA. That is my nation. But I am not a worshiper of my government. I used to be, sort of, but more by habit, by tradition, and by indoctrination, not out of any undying loyalty to my nation, as a nation. For all my life (I am 72 years old) government worship has been taught and/or pushed in the church, and it was for me in school, and now on social media.

I see these American Pride memes on Facebook regularly, and I hear Christians talk of how proud they are to be Americans. They wave their flags, and they vow (pledge) their undying loyalty and fidelity (allegiance) to the US government, with hand over heart, and they sing patriotic songs of worship to our government, and they honor our military as our saviors.

And they also worship a particular political party or a particular politician who they think will save them from the evils which are going on in the world. For, I will see Christians on social media lifting up these politicians and their political parties, and I will see them defending them strongly against any who they deem to be their enemy, and then not mention Jesus Christ at all, or very little.

And their prayers for our leaders are often more about God blessing them and God bringing them into power. And their prayers for our nation are much the same, that God would stop all this madness that is going on right now so we can get back to normal or that he would “heal our land,” but with no mention of our need to humble ourselves, to pray, to seek God’s face, to turn from our wicked ways, and to turn to follow our Lord in his ways.

Knowing How to Pray

So, before we just arbitrarily pray some general or specific prayer for people, or especially for our government, we need to first humble ourselves, pray that our hearts will be right with God, and that we will know his will and how to pray. We must turn from our wicked ways and follow Jesus in obedience. And we need to seek God and his guidance and his knowledge of what is going on in the world and in the USA so we know how to pray.

Then we will begin to know God’s heart and what he is thinking, and he will open our eyes to see all the many ways that we are being deceived, even by the people we trust (or did once trust). And if we are willing to receive it, he will show us who our government leaders are and who they serve and what they are doing in our nation and in all these other countries in the world.

And then we will know better what to pray and who to trust and who not to trust. And then we will turn our worship away from men (the flesh) and to God, and he will be the only one that we worship and to whom we pledge our undying devotion and fidelity. And then instead of promoting men and their platforms on social media, we will be spreading the gospel, instead.

For, it is a lie of Satan to get us to worship our government and our military, and to see them as our saviors, and to promote them on social media, and to fight in defense of them and their platforms, even against other Christians, thinking if only our guy would get into office that we would be safe and that life could return to normal.

But what is normal?

Normal has been largely that the church is indistinguishable from the world. The church at large has sold their soul to the government and to the world and to big business, and they have turned the gatherings of the church into a marketplace, and they have put the government above God, and they have diluted Jesus’ gospel in order to appeal to the flesh of man.

And the result of all of that is that sin is running rampant in the church and no one is doing what needs to be done to stop it, because they don’t want to offend anyone. They don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable, or to feel judged. And they don’t want to be rejected, because they want to build their earthly kingdoms, and they want the world to join them in their gatherings.

And so all this compromise of truth and righteousness, and all this denying of Jesus as Lord, and the people of God going their own way and living in sin and engaging in gross immorality and in sexual idolatry and adultery and refusing to walk in obedience to the Lord has been the death of the church spiritually. Their light has gone out, and they have lost their saltiness, and they are now followers of men instead of followers of God.

Ashamed of Christ and His Gospel

And so they are ashamed of Christ and his gospel, and so they would rather talk about anything but Jesus and the Scriptures in order to be included and accepted and not considered “odd” or “out there” or “crazy” or “fanatical.” And so they join in with the world in their frivolity, and they crack jokes, and people think they are funny. But where is their testimony for Jesus Christ?

And so our nation and the world are going to hell, and we are under the judgment of God, and so Christians are praying for God to take this all away so we can return to “normal” and continue on a road to hell, and they are not seeing that this is for our good. And it is only going to get worse because our nation needs revival, and revival is only going to come through some old fashioned divine discipline and correction which gets our attention.

So, if you want to pray for your nation, and you want to pray for your leaders, and for the people of this world, and for the church at large, pray that the people of God in this nation will humble themselves and pray, and seek God’s face, and turn from their wicked ways, and turn to follow Jesus in obedience so that God can heal us, perhaps never again physically, as a nation, but spiritually, as a people.

Then we will lead a peaceful life. We will live godly and holy and dignified lives in every way for the glory of God and for the sake of his righteousness. And we will live lives which are pleasing to God in every way, and our worship of God will be to him and to him alone and not to man. And our focus will be on leading people to genuine faith in Jesus Christ, not on leading them to approve of a particular political platform or politician.

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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