In 1776, American patriots pledged their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” to sign the Declaration of Independence. And then they gave of themselves in unspeakable sacrifice to birth this great nation.
These men understood that patriotism meant so much more than grabbing the family rifle and charging the red coats. It involved giving whatever was necessary to uphold the God-given values of freedom and equality which they had come to embrace. For many, patriotism meant giving their lives, their families, and their fortunes. They purchased freedom at a heavy personal expense.
I’m thankful for the heritage of these patriots, statesmen, and soldiers who embraced and upheld freedom—even at the expense of themselves.
I’m thankful for men and women around the world today (some from our church family) who are sacrificing for continued freedom.
But more than the patriotism of a soldier, we need another kind of patriotism today. America is in a state of spiritual and moral decline that, frankly, is frightening. We seem to have lost our moral compass and our willingness to sacrifice for the biblical values of truth and righteousness.
Today, we need the kind of patriotism that Nehemiah of old embraced. Nehemiah’s nation was in desperate straits. The wall of Jerusalem was burned and broken down, and the enemies of the Lord mocked the city’s disgrace.
But when Nehemiah heard of the travail of Jerusalem, he made a decision to give his life to the cause of revival. He prayed with compassion and fervency. And he made it his purpose to seek the spiritual welfare of the city. He persevered through criticism, attacks, and discouragement. And in the end, he did what his enemies said couldn’t be done—he revived the stones to build a great wall around the city.
More than ever before, America needs men and women who—like Nehemiah of old—will be burdened to pray for our country with genuine compassion, and then have the passion and courage to seek the spiritual welfare of our God-blessed nation.
Yes, it will require personal sacrifice. But, as Americans, we value sacrifice more than enslavement. May we earnestly seek God’s face and give of ourselves for the cause of revival!
If my people, which are called by my name, shall 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
(Note: This post is a repost of “The Patriotism We Need Today,” published July 4, 2011. It is as appropriate and needed today as it was three years ago.)