Today is July 4th, our nation’s birthday. We remember and celebrate our freedom from Britain’s tyrannical rule. The pursuit of freedom defines our nation’s history. We are free to self-govern, to live our lives independent of government control. Praise God! What a tremendous privilege it is to be an American.
The freedoms I experience as an American, though, are not my greatest freedoms. As great as this nation is, I have a deeper, more foundational identity. Patriotism is not my first commitment. Christ is. Why is this so?
The tyranny of sin is far worse than the tyranny of abusive government. Yes, abusive governments can be awful, but their power only goes so far. They have no ability to determine where I spend eternity. Sin does. Sin enslaves my heart and drags me to hell. Abusive government can’t do that.
The value of independence must be understood in relation to the power of tyranny. Independence from Britain’s tyranny is great but not as great as independence from sin. Why? Because sin’s tyranny is greater than Britain’s.
This means that citizenship in heaven is greater than American citizenship. It means that the blood of Jesus is greater than the blood of soldiers who died establishing and defending our country. It means that the cross is greater than the flag, the Bible better than the Constitution, and godliness superior to patriotism. Should you be patriotic? I think so. I am. But first follow Jesus.