Monday, July 4, 2011

the fourth of july.

Today is the Fourth of July, a holiday that celebrates American independence and is all about patriotism and pride. I'm an American, yes, but I'm not one to have an extremely patriotic spirit. I think there's way more significance to this day day than is culturally common to celebrate. Hear me out on this.

I love a lot of things about this country. From the Redwood forests to Death Valley to Yosemite to Sedona to Virginia Beach to the Grand Canyon to the Shenandoah Valley to everything else in between, this land is gorgeous and breathtakingly awesome. But none of those incredible places were created by Americans. They were created by God, the one and only Creator. 

I love the people of this country, too. The diversity and beauty of Americans is so cool to me. And they were formed by God as well. I love our freedom to worship this amazing God and the fact that I can sing and shout praises whenever I please with no fear of what might happen as a result. 

Basically, here is what I've realized: Everything that I love about America, I actually love about God and what He has done in and for America.

The things I love best about this country are all the things that are directly from God, and I'd much rather celebrate Him and His glory than just the United States. This country won't last forever, but the One that made it will.

I personally want to make today my celebration in appreciation of all the awesome things our Lord is doing in this nation. I don't want today to be just a day for us to ask that God bless America, but a day that we as Americans bless God as well.

I'm going to take today to spend time with my family and thank God for the wonderful blessing they are to me. I'm going to spend time noticing the little things and appreciating the beauty of the world He has created for us to live in. I'm going to thank God for all of my freedoms, and for the ones that gave their lives to ensure my safety and these freedoms. I'm going to pray for the leaders of our country, that they would seek to lead our country in a way that is glorifying to Him. I'm going to make today a day about celebrating God and everything He is doing in America.

So, I guess when I said I didn't really have an extremely "patriotic" spirit, what I really meant was that I'd rather embody the fruits of the spirit and live first and foremost for Christ over living for my country. Having a heart for Christ and all of His creation creates a heart for this land and all of its people. I'm excited to celebrate in community with all Americans today and tonight, even if not everyone is celebrating the same things I am.

"You're the God of this city 
You're the King of these people 
You're the Lord of this nation 
You are 

You're the Light in this darkness 
You're the Hope to the hopeless 
You're the Peace to the restless 
You are 

There is no one like our God 
There is no one like our God 

For greater things have yet to come 
And greater things are still to be done in this city 
Greater things have yet to come 
And greater things are still to be done in this city"
-Chris Tomlin, "God of this City"

God's going to do big things in America, I fully believe that.
Happy Fourth of July, everyone.