Beyond Church Borders: Christianity and Independence Day

The Lord—he is God!
The Lord—he is God!
(1 Kings 18:39)

Every 12th of June, for more than a hundred years, citizens of our nation gather and spend a few moments to salute the heroes of history. People suddenly remember that those names and dates and places that they had been forced to memorize since grade school were once real people who made it their life choice to sacrifice their everything for our liberty. And as a bonus, for once in the entire year, having the national flag in one form or another is considered fashionable.

But for many of us, the agony that those heroes went through is quite impersonal and the “honoring” that is done every year, only part of a ritual. And worse, for many Christians, loving one’s country is either wrong or, is something that should be done passively.

Should I love my country? Why?

A nation without God’s guidance is a nation without order. Happy are those who keep God’s law! (Proverbs 29:18, Today’s English Version) There is no hope for a nation without God. While it is true that there are nations that do enjoy prosperity to a certain extent, even with national religions that do not worship God, these are also the same nations most deeply enslaved to the dictates of the flesh. And while it is true that there are nations that profess to follow God but ban Him from their schools and public places and still remain prosperous, such nations find themselves as world leaders in moral decay.

In one form or another, be that in the form of a national financial crisis, or in the form of moral decline, there is no nation on earth that can truly prosper without God.
What, then, is a Christian’s calling for his nation?

1. We need to pray. I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. (1 Timothy 2:1-2) We Christians have been entrusted with a most sacred task: to be intercessors for our nation. In the same way that we drop to our knees in tears for the people we know and love, we are also called to drop down in our knees for this land that we have been called to serve.

2. We need to lead by example. The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them… Even small children are known by their actions, so is their conduct really pure and upright? If our aim is indeed to move the hearts of our leaders, and of those around us, nothing can be more powerful than the testimony of our lives. As we show the power of God in a life that is fully surrendered to Him, we, in turn, become living instruments in demonstrating the power of God in a nation that is fully surrendered to Him.

3. We need to make our clamor for wise and sound leadership be known.

Without wise leadership, a nation falls… (Proverbs 11:14, New Living Translation)
Good leaders abhor wrongdoing of all kinds; sound leadership has a moral foundation. (Proverbs 16:12, The Message Translation)
o Leadership gains authority and respect when the voiceless poor are treated fairly. (Proverbs 29:14, The Message Translation)

As our nation’s moral compass, ours are the most authentic voices for guidance that our leaders desperately need. There will always be economic experts, political experts and security experts that surround our leaders. But, when it comes to hearing God’s direction, there are really no experts. There are only those who humbly lay before His feet, at the foot of His throne, day in and day out – and it is these people who must speak out His words.

4. We need to believe. If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14, New International Version) In other words, God has promised “If, from now on, you will truly live for Me, then I will listen to you and I will heal your nation. God’s words are sure and true… let us live our day-by-day with the firm faith that that is indeed true! Though we may work with the passion of the dying, we must find our sustenance in the joyful faith of the living.

For more than a hundred years, we have looked to bloody revolution, mind revolution and people revolution to finally usher in the golden age that we yearn for. An age when we can walk the streets in safety, an age when street corners are  no longer littered with the hungry and an age when Filipinos no longer bear the identity of corruption and poverty. Many believe that is only a dream, an impossibility. But for those of us who have come to know Him whose love brought heaven to its knees and sacrificed the King of kings and Lord of lords to a cursed tree, we know better.

We say, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”