It’s July 4th, a day of remembrance and celebration. When I was a child, July 4th meant three things for me: 1) eating hamburgers and drinking a lot of soda, 2) spending the day in the middle of nowhere lighting firecrackers, and 3) the chance to once again scare my brothers with said firecrackers. And as an added fourth thing, getting in trouble for scaring my brothers. This year, though, Independence Day seems to also be about something else: sarcasm.
I woke up today and did the usual weekend/holiday morning routine: making sure my alarm wasn’t set to go off in case I wanted to go back to sleep, and checking Facebook notifications. My social media addiction aside, what I saw really bothered me. As I scrolled down my Facebook wall, I saw a slew of comical pictures criticizing President Obama and his health care plan. Jokes about no longer being free, Obama being a dictatorial king, etc. Cards on the table, I’m not all for this new plan of his, but these images struck a deeper chord.
Normally, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. I’d have laughed (and I did do that) and moved on, completely forgetting the whole thing. But a recent blog post by Josh Patterson came to mind and really challenged me to remember. In this post, he gives us this challenge: “So don’t cheapen this Independence Day by simply making it about burgers and beer. Dare to discuss the realities of sacrifice, self-denial and honor.”
Now, some may argue that all of the anti-Obama(Care) jokes are very much discussing the “sacrifice, self-denial and honor” in an indirect way. That may be true, but these images were posted by Christians. I’m not saying that Christians shouldn’t enjoy political humor (I do), but rather that we must be cognizant of the fact that our freedom has absolutely nothing to do with the system of government.
Christ has set us free. King Jesus set us free. We joke about Obama being a king, and yet often times we fail to realize that Jesus is THE KING! He doesn’t hold that title in some kind of allegorical sense, but in reality. He is the sovereign King over all creation. He commands the moon, the sun, the stars, the waters, the skies, and the hearts of men, and they obey His every whim because they can do no other.
I’ve been reading Gospel Wakefulness by Jared C. Wilson lately, and I read this the other day and it absolutely floored me.
The church in China prays for us in the West, and many Chinese Christians, I’ve been told, pray that we will experience persecution as they do, because they believe that is what it will take for revival to occur in our land.
While we may experience some political, and even personal, discrimination here in the West, we have yet to face real persecution. Yet persecution has always been a friend of the advancement of the Gospel. God didn’t tell us to go forth and make a nation where everyone can feel safe and secure and tolerated, He told us to go and make disciples, to advance the Kingdom of God. As insane as I think a lot of the political stuff is these days, maybe all the socialistic tendencies aren’t just because Americans have been dumbed down over the past two hundred years (and we have), but maybe, just maybe it’s God’s way of answering the prayers of all the Christians in the East, who are really being persecuted but still seeing the Gospel go forth and the Kingdom of God explode.
I feel confident in saying that we’ve become too comfortable relying on the government to secure our freedom for us, and not really remembering that our true freedom (that we live in right now, no matter what government we’re under) was secured permanently two thousand years ago on a cross at Calvary. So, this year, let’s dare to remember and discuss the “sacrifice, self-denial, and honor” of our King Jesus.
Let’s not just talk about our faith, but let’s dare to show the world what unwavering faith in the victorious King Jesus really looks like by being more concerned about making disciples than criticizing the government.