In our American Christianity, I believe that we at times get confused on our citizenship because we are raised to be so patriotic and we sing “God bless America.” There is nothing wrong with being born in America, being proud of it, or desiring to make America a better country. However, we as the church must remember that our citizenship lies in heaven. The American church gets so up-in-arms because our faith is being “persecuted” when our brothers and sisters around the world are facing persecution on a fatal level. We cry out to our government and await the salvation of Uncle Sam.
Alas for those who go down to Egypt for helpIsaiah 31:1, NRSV
and who rely on horses,
who trust in chariots because they are many
and in horsemen because they are very strong,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel
or consult the Lord!
Now let us put this verse into our context.
Alas for those who go down to their senators, congressmen, and other government officials for help and who rely on horses, who trust in officers, soldiers, and judges because they are many and in the military because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the Lord!
That scathing indictment sounds just like so much of Western Christianity. We are crying out “who will save us” and ignoring the fact that God has won the battle already. Now listen, it is good for the government to protect its people and care for them. In fact, I believe that the reason God places believers especially in office is to stand up for the marginalized. We should fight for justice and to watch over those who are walked on. Yet remember, it is not our nation who saves us.
As I wrote last week, we are saved not only for a future glory, but a present salvation to live for God. We partake in that by “doing justice” as the prophet Micah tells us. But when life hits the fan, who are we going to turn to. Where are we going to place our trust.
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.1 Peter 1:6-7, ESV
Consider the trials joy. Rejoice as you partake in the same trials and persecution which Christ also faced undeserving on our behalf. Be do-ers of justice and live a life of mercy. Stand up for the marginalized and oppressed. Fight for those who are walked on and pushed around. For the widow and orphan, and care for the alien. This is also commands we are given in Scripture.
And when things get too hard, turn your eyes to heaven.
Look to the Lord for help. He is able and willing.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills, from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” – Psalm 121:1-2
Stop waiting for the salvation of men and look to the Lord who is the only one capable of saving. Be men and women who strive to bring the salvation of the Lord to those around you. Do not place your trust in men and women who are broken just like we are, but place your trust in the one good and perfect Father, and his son Jesus Christ.