Friday, July 1, 2011

Aliens, foreigners, and the 4th of July

The 4th of July is a grand celebration of the birth of the United States of America. As Americans we certainly know how to celebrate birthdays. Every proper 4th of July celebration has good food, and there will be no short supply of barbeques and picnics with hot dogs, brats, hamburgers, potato salad, and potato chips on the menu. Red, white, and blue adorn city street light posts, and car lots buy even bigger flags to wave to advertise their latest deals. And of course there will be loud, bright, colorful “oooh” and “aaah” inspiring fireworks.

The 4th of July is a reminder of the fight for freedom and the sacrifice many paid to have a country of our own. But to Christians the celebration has mixed feelings. One cannot help but get caught up in the story of America’s birth, of the impossible revolution, of the heroics and sacrifice, and of eventual victory. Every time I watch the fireworks, I think of the story of the U.S. and I admittedly get chills. However, at the same time the celebration is a reminder that for those who follow Christ, we are not yet truly home. In fact 1 Peter 2:11 reminds us:

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.

We are not yet home, in fact we are aliens. Our home is not in this world, but in the Kingdom of Heaven with our Lord and Maker. It is important to remember that our goal is not the democracy of the U.S. but the Kingdom of God. Many laid down their life for this country, but no one beside Christ could lay down their life for our eternal citizenship in heaven. Heroic battles were fought and won for freedoms in America, but only the victory of Christ will truly set us free.

The truth is, the waving flags on the 4th of July remind me that I am not yet home, and there are still many more scarifies to be made. The fireworks remind me that I am not free by the battles of men, but only by the victory of Christ!

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