4th of July 2016 Devotional
Happy Independence Day! The United States fought hard for their independence. We have a rich, however short, heritage. We have hope in unity as a melting pot for dreams.
But some feel that the United States is no longer independent. Some lie or have been dissuaded from thinking that our heritage is what it was. Some feel there is no hope for unity as we fragment further into racial profiling.
I’ve been thinking about the Civil War this week and what it must’ve been like to have brother fight against brother. To believe that God was on your side and that what you were doing was right.
Many nations, including the United States, have made poor decisions, but have been able to turnaround, admit those mistakes and progress for a better tomorrow. Here is a little blurb about the time surrounding the American Civil War:
“Deprivations and disorders were everywhere. God’s new American people were confronting chaos much as ancient Israel had known (and helped create). But Americans knew better than to fail, and so they sought more authenticity. Reform movements emerged at an incredible pace and included Sunday schools, prison ministries, hospitals and clinics, and eleemosynary institutions, as well as attempts to ameliorate labor conditions, cleanse politics of corruption, provide special care for females, encourage temperance, and peacefully resolve conflicts” (Source 1).
What the United States needs today is Jesus. Christians need an authentic faith, not because of what others think or how believers are portrayed in the media. The authenticity of our faith is first based on a God who keeps promises (Deuteronomy 7:9) and second, upon the willingness for His people to put themselves aside to serve others. Continue the time honored tradition of believers leading reform. Be the first on the battle lines of injustice, not with picket signs are guns but in prison ministries, welcoming refugees into your home and supporting anti-sex trafficking initiatives.
I will not too closely intertwine U.S. politics with the spiritual life but I encourage you to love the country you live in and the people housed there, enough to share Jesus Christ. I encourage you to celebrate your freedom in Christ (2 Corinthians 3:17) and tell others how they can have that freedom also.
Source 1: Edited by Randall M. Miller, Harry S. Stout, Charles Reagan Wilson, Religion and the American Civil War, Oxford University, 1998, p. 369.