As we celebrate America's Independence today, my thoughts were drawn upwards to God. Two hundred and thirty three years ago, men were willing to sacrifice their lives to establish a country where men and women could be free to live and worship without a distant country governing us when they didn't even know how we lived.
I have to admit that as a believer in America, the future seems very dim in regards to our freedom to preach the gospel and live in a way that pleases God. And while in my heart I want to leave and teach in a foreign land favorable to the preaching of Christ, I know for a fact that God has placed me here and this is where I must live and serve my Lord.
The other day I was talking with my mom and patriotic lessons for Sunday School, and I mentioned the passage of Scripture where Christ is approached about not paying taxes. What does Christ do? He sends Peter off to go fishing. The amazing thing about this fishing trip is that when Peter caught a fish, he discovered a coin in the fishes mouth with which they paid the taxes. Christ concluded this lesson with the message "Render unto Cesar what is Cesar's."
How does this apply to me? Quiet simply, as an American citizen, I need to obey and honor the laws that I am governed by. This means I pay ALL of my taxes and don't attempt to cheat the government. This means I need to support my senator's and congressmen with prayer and encouragement to make wise and Biblical decisions. This means that no matter how much I may disagree with our president, I must have respect for his office and not make accusations or talk badly about the man himself.
And yet, this is not all that Scripture has to say about my loyalty to America. You see, there are some laws that are already in place and others that are soon to be in place that are anti-biblical. They stand for everything against God's holiness.
In Acts 5, Peter and some of the other apostles were thrown in prison for preaching. When they were released from prison, they were given the order to no longer preach Christ. Their response to this command is found in verse 29 "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men." In dealings with America, my loyalty and support must be for my country, but wherever American laws go against Biblical commands, I must take a stand and obey God first.
The Bible has established a very clear pattern of Authority -- "God first, government second." God established government to help establish order.
I hope and pray everyone has a wonderful Fourth of July
Happy Birthday America