The Church has not been called, as its first priority, to
save nations. The Church has been called
to advance God’s Kingdom. In the
advancement of God’s Kingdom, nations will eventually be saved.
When we reverse this order and mount campaigns of national
reformation at the expense of individual discipleship, we begin to draw on the
power source of national pride to accomplish a task that can only be fulfilled
by a clear focus on the mission God has given the Church.
Nationalism in any form, even for those of us who feel we
live in a great nation, will end up redefining the enemy as other nations and
people who oppose our way of life. Nationalism can become, if we are not
careful, a blinding force to the real battle that is never a flesh and blood
war, but an engagement with spiritual forces in high places.
Some of these spiritual forces attempting to control the
affairs of men and nations are embedded within our own political systems and in
the various political parties in whom some place their trust. The real battle is not nation against nation,
or person against person, but against belief systems that undermine the beauty
and majesty of God.
When the Church in any nation begins to walk in the fullness
of who she is, the controlling spirit of that nation will begin to be
compromised. In that compromise spiritual deception will begin to lose its ability
to deceive the hearts and minds of the citizens who are under its control and
spell. This is the beginning of true national transformation.
The plan of God to bring the nations of this world into the
Kingdom of God seems less dramatic and heartfelt to some when compared to our
very visual and emotional displays of national pride. I still get choked up when I see a ceremony
to honor a fallen soldier who gave their life so I can live in a freedom that I
too easily take for granted. National pride is wonderful and moving, but it
will not accomplish the Great Commission Christ gave the Church.
God’s plan for national transformation is to bring the
occupants of every nation out of a self-sufficient place of spiritual darkness
into the light of God’s truth. This is
done one man and one woman at a time. Maybe the greatest source for a national
revival can be found in our loving interaction with a neighbor over the back fence
who may not yet know God and who actually opposes all that we hold dear.
The Lord said, “Go and
make disciples of all nations.” He did not say to go and save a nation
first. He sent us to individuals – individuals
that can be hard to love at times. The changed life of a single disciple
precedes the changed life of an entire nation because the individuals are the
substance of the culture.
Whenever our commitment to the personal discipleship of a
single human being is displaced by a larger cause, such as national
reformation, our efforts will eventually become futile and frustrating. We can actually end up dividing ourselves
from the very people we are called to love because they are lumped into a
larger, nameless opposing mass. This is
actually a way that hell wages war against the plans of God.
July 4th is coming in a few days. I take pride in what this day means for me as
a citizen and for all of us who make up this great nation. While I will
experience some strong patriotic emotions on that day, I have come to realize
it will not be my emotions of national pride that will motivate me to see my
nation change for the better. What must
motivate each of us are the words and passion of Jesus. The mission Jesus gave
to His Church is accomplished within the human heart. Unlocking the heart of
the individual will eventually unlock the heart of a nation.