The Fight - by Jake Hamilton

Kingdom, Patriotism & Nationalism


I love my country.

I appreciate that I was born in the United States of America. A land of freedom and opportunity paid for by the blood of others I will never meet in wars I will only experience through images and stories. I do not understand what it would be like to live under tyranny and bondage, in lands where freedoms are limited and opportunities are controlled and, in most cases, manipulated for those in power to retain their power, their wealth, and their domination over others. Sometimes I take many of my own freedoms in this country for granted, like the right to a fair trial, to disagree with my government, to worship openly, to name my child whatever I want (yes, many nations you can’t), to make decisions about my children’s education (homeschool is not an option in many nations), to marry whoever I want, to travel with relative ease, to own property, to vote in local and national elections, to start a business, even the “Americans with Disabilities Act” makes it so my own daughter has access to public transportation and available entrances to all businesses and buildings. I know there are many more, but the point is that I understand that by simply being born into the United States I was given a gift, freedoms that many around the world do not share and I do not want to seem ungrateful as I attempt to explore the differences between country and kingdom.

But here is what I am processing today, July 4th, 2023. Freedom isn’t free and kingdom is not synonymous with nationalism, regardless of what country you were born into.

Words have power and that power can help us or hinder us if we do not use wisdom in our communication. That is why, in the hour we live in, it is important for us to know the difference between kingdom, nationalism, and patriotism. Nationalism is when you believe and promote your nation as the “greatest” and superior to all other nations, therefore promoting decisions and ideologies that support your country regardless of the impact those decisions or ideologies have on others. Patriotism on the other hand is a value for one’s nation, a respect and honor for what it stands for and a devotion to the land you came from. Patriotism evokes a sense of pride, inspiration, and optimism formed in a grateful heart. The Kingdom of God is primarily concerned with personal spiritual transformation and the spread of God’s love in the world. It transcends political boundaries and encompasses all believers regardless of nationality, political affiliation, or socio-economic status.

That is why it is important for us to understand that “Christian nationalism” simply cannot exist because there is no such thing as a “Christian nation”. There may be Christians in leadership within a nation as well as those who serve and protect that nation in hundreds of different ways that might call themselves Christian but that doesn’t make it a Christian nation. Christian leaders within every sphere of influence can promote Christian principles but they cannot demand Christian practice because that would remove the same freedoms that we claim to love so much. Love can never be demanded; it is always an invitation if it is truly love. Nations, business, buildings, organizations, land, cannot be “Christian” because only people, human beings, can choose salvation in Christ. This top-down model of leadership that is promoted as “Kingdom” does not work for Christians because it is not the model of Jesus, our servant-king, who denied earthly leadership more than once in order to lead in ways that would transform the human heart with lasting generational impact that can never be taken by governments, institutions, or social influence.

This is why marriage and family are so important to what we are doing here at The FIGHT. In a family you we can model for our children the ways of God with such profound impact that regardless of how they wander or where they go, they will have love to return to when they are ready. We don’t demand religious activities of our children, we love them, we convince them they belong even when they don’t believe. We model the same love and kindness to others we meet, within the communities we are a part of, the jobs we work at, and the schools our children attend. Does that mean we should never be involved in government and politics? That we should abandon the spheres of influence that create the society we participate in everyday in our lives. No. We should pray and vote for leaders who fear and serve God as well as righteous judges who make laws that honor the poor, the widow, and the orphan. We should be innovating and creating new systems of finance, education, and entertainment that offer alternatives to families looking to promote truth, beauty, freedom, and love in their homes, to their children, their extended families, there friends and neighbors.

This is the role of the Christian in culture, in my opinion.

But many Christians are so busy being frustrated and disappointed in those currently leading, posting and reposting about how awful they are, that they have forgotten that as followers of Jesus Christ, committed to his ways and His Kingdom, we were meant to be messengers of hope and agents of mercy in a world that is so desperate for it. What if we, for a season, as the Body of Christ decided that for the remainder of the week we would only post and repost that which was filled with hope? Not that we abandon the world and bury our head in the sand, but we speak in the opposite spirit. When we see something in the news or on social media that we know is not Gods heart or design, we don’t blast it, or repost those who oppose it, we find something, anything, that reminds us of what He always intended, what He always desired for us. What if that single act done by millions of professing Christians around the world showed the nation and the nations what we stand for and not just what we stand against?

I love my country, but I am not my country.

This world is a place of passing, where my influence can have eternal impact.

This place is currently my home, but my citizenship is in heaven.

I am grateful for where I was born, for the life I have, and the country in which I live.

Today I will honor the lives that were lost, I will celebrate the freedoms I experience, and I will enjoy the beauty of this country; from the mountains in the distance, to the fireworks in the sky, and everything in between.

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