This Is My Country: Is Nationalism OK?

When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance and divided the human race,
He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the people of Israel.

From one man He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. He did this so they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.

-Deuteronomy 32:8, Acts 17:26-27

I woke up one morning, this past week, with the song, "This Is My Country", going through my heart.  You might know this song, which speaks of national pride and national unity.  We are, in America, "One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all".  These are very powerful words that we say.

I believe that we are entering into a time when these words will be more meaningful and come alive to all of us in America.  I, personally,  am proud to be an America and I love the United State of America.  But I also love God first and His Christ and I also love all the other nations.

But this is my country.  If I were a citizen of China or Scotland, I would say the same thing.  Nations are a good thing and were invented by God.

And we love our nation and we love the nations. And believers are a nation within the nations.  Only God is a citizen of the whole world and the gospel, from God and through God's people, is transportable to all the nations.

We are not citizens of the world.  Some people, through the circumstances of their lives, hold dual citizenship, and perhaps it is possible to hold three or more.  Many of us can trace our roots back to a number of countries, where we have our family lines, and that is a part of what makes us who we are.

But from wherever we came, we are now here, and we have a nation we call our country.  This is how it is and is part of God's design, which we see throughout the scriptures.  If nations were invented by God, then is nationalism ok?

We have to understand that nationalism is not racism or a hegemony.  We can and should be nationalistic without racism or hegemony.  Nations should be good neighbors and there is a saying that goes, "fences make for good neighbors".

We do have allegiance to our nation, but after our allegiance to God.  We are one nation, under God; whether we act like it or not.  And many of us do put our trust in God, even if we don't act like it, taking God's name is vain often.

We are a nation of sinners and saints and saints who sin and sinners who are saints.  With all our flaws and outright missing the mark, we are God's people even when we don't know God.  

God created nations and nations are a good Idea.  Nations, plural.  When we become believers, our national identity comes under God, just as everything else about us does.

I am a Christian, who is proud to be an American.  That is very different than saying and believing that I am a proud American, who is also a Christian.  Everything about us, including our ethnicity and our nationalistic identification and our sexuality comes under God and under God's Christ.

The idea of 'one world' or 'no borders', is distinctly not from God, not from the Bible, and has never been a part of the story of the people of God.  Because of the sins of nations and governments, that have caused wars, famine and poverty throughout the earth; humans have come up with the solution that we should all get along without the many tribes and many nations, with their boundaries, borders and distinctives.

Through the entire Bible's story, when we finally get to the last book, Revelation, we read that there are nations that God has been working in:
And they sang a new song: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because You were slaughtered, and You redeemed people for God by Your blood from every tribe and language and people and nation.
After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were robed in white with palm branches in their hands.
-Revelation 5:9 and 7:9
Being from and in a nation is a good thing.  Loving your nation, your people, and either the people your nation has adopted or the people you have been adopted into, is a good thing.  Christians are citizens of the kingdom first and then citizens of earthly nations.

Nationalism is good when it is woven through with kingdom values like love for others.  But the nations on this earth are not the kingdom of God, and the church is not the kingdom either.  The church comes out of and flows in the kingdom and we all live in nations, whether we serve the kingdom of God or the kingdom of Satan.

God and Satan are both working in the nations, as a battle field, on the earth.  Nations are turf, where people live, that God is working to save and Satan is working to corrupt.  People who do not believe, who have not repented, or are not ready are apt to have an unclear understanding of nations and might gravitate to the extreme of national pride, exclusive-ism and un-neighborliness that may even include war against others.  Or, they might believe in moving toward a world where there are no nations, no boundaries and we are all one.

Both of these extremes are wrong, and the correction is that God redeems nations.  The human answer is to either be proud and unloving towards others and live in narcissism, or to become 'enlightened' and find a way to get along, through 'human ingenuity'.  Both of these are wrong, because they leave out or set aside the loving God.

Believers are challenged to live in the world, but not of the world: as sojourners, who are on their way to living forever with God.  And believers are all about taking as many people with them into God's family.  That mission is what drives the Christian, who lives on earth, in a nation.

What God has ordained or created is something I also like.  And one of those things is nations.  Nations is plural and God loves the nations, all the nations.

But I live in a nation and I love my nation, that God also loves.  God is saving and redeeming people inside of nations including my country.

I can not tell you about other nations or your country, if you are in another nation.  But I can tell you the good things about my country.  I can sing it's praises and I imagine you can sing the praises of yours.

One of the great things about my country is that we are of many ethnicities, yet we are one nation.  We also hold many different opinions, but we are one nation.  Love for America in it's truest sense is love for all of America and love for who we all are, together, living in this land.



Here is the song:

This is My Country, by Dan Raye and Al Jacobs

This is my country
Land of my birth
This is my country
Grandest on Earth

I pledge thee my allegiance
America the bold
For this is my country
To have and to hold

What difference if I hail from North or South
Or from the East or West?
My heart is filled with love
For all of these.
I only know I swell with pride
And deep within my breast
I thrill to see Old Glory
Paint the breeze.

With hand upon my heart
I'm thankful for my native land
For all I love is here within her gates
My soul is rooted deeply within the soil on which I stand
For these are mine, my own United States.

This is my country
Land of my choice
This is my country
Hear my proud voice.

I pledge thee my allegiance
America the bold
For this is my country
To have and to hold.


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