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As the Fourth of July nears, something on my mind lately is the confusion of worshiping one’s country vs. worshiping the God of the universe who has given us true freedom from our sins.

I’m not here to say that we can’t be a patriot. We can be patriotic, as we respect our veterans and be thankful for earthly freedom. In fact, I myself am from a long line of veterans, and I am extremely proud of their sacrifice and the freedoms for which they fought. I would consider myself pretty patriotic.

I am here, however, to ask that we take a look into our hearts. Are we unwittingly worshiping our country more than openly worshiping our Lord and Savior?

In every Baptist church I’ve ever attended, the Fourth of July service is a bit of a production. The military songs are sung; there is recognition of veterans, and many patriotic songs are sung. However, something that I’ve noticed in my adulthood and found issue with is the outright worship of one’s country in such services.

For example, think about the song, “God Bless America.” It is not really a worship song.

The first two commandments of the 10 commandments say, “(1)You shall have no other gods before me, (2)You shall not make yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or In the waters below.” (NIV)

I’m not here to say that I haven’t ever had an earthy idol that has caused me to break either of these commandments. Admittedly, I’ve put things before the Lord in my sinful nature.

What I’m asking you is, have we mistakenly made our country your No. 1 God? Have we therefore made our country an idol?

In your loyalty to country, have you forgotten that Jesus calls us to be a friend to the widow, the orphan, the oppressed?

I want you to read this passage of Scripture closely,

For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty, and awesome God, showing no partiality and accepting no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and widow, and He loves the foreigner, giving him food and clothing. So you also must love the foreigner, since you yourselves were foreigners in the land of Egypt.

Now read the rest of the passage carefully…

You are to fear the LORD your God and serve Him. Hold fast to Him and take your oaths in His name. He is your praise and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome wonders your eyes have seen” (Deut. 10:17-21).

What I’m challenging you to do today and this Fourth of July, O patriot, is to examine the nature and zeal in which you celebrate and serve our country vs. the nature and zeal in which you celebrate and serve our God?

Please hear me out. I’m not saying we can’t be patriotic, or to be patriotic is a sin. What I’m saying is, where do your priorities and passions lie?

Do you pledge your allegiance to your country and flag, or as a believer in Christ do you pledge your allegiance, above anything else, to the Creator of the seas and the skies and all of his commands?