The United States of America is an amazing country. We enjoy freedoms that others can only dream of. The reason we have such a big debate and discussion about immigration is because there are tons of people from around the world who desire to be in this country even if it means entering (and staying) illegally. America stands out as a beacon of light to the world. We send countless missionaries to foreign lands and are also usually the first to show up when disaster relief is needed.
America was established by God for the propagation of the gospel across the globe and to demonstrate God’s grace through a government that promotes and defends liberty. Of course, America has many blemishes and flaws. Our nation is neither perfect nor blameless. One thing we can say for sure is that America has been the best model of freedom this world has seen.
America is great but there is also much to be concerned about. I am concerned that the land of opportunity, with all of its wealth and resources, can lead us spiraling downward into apathy as we are lulled to sleep. The Christian church in America has grown up in the midst of prosperity. The problem is that, historically, prosperity does not usually produce vibrant Christianity.
We are able to have conversations here in America that the body of Christ in other parts of the world would not imagine having. Everything is at our fingertips. We have innumerable and accessible resources. Churches are everywhere. Bibles are commonplace. Our church buildings and the media resources they are equipped with are state of the art. On the surface this seems good but it also has the potential to hurt the vibrancy of our witness. At some point, we have to take a few steps back and ask ourselves some tough questions.
- Do our lives resemble what we read in the Bible?
- Are our churches filled with Christ-followers or church attendees?
- Do we live out the tenets of the faith on a daily basis?
- Are we making disciples in our own homes?
- Would the gospel we preach here in America work in other parts of the world?
- Have our churches and denominations been co-opted by political systems or agendas that have nothing to do with being a Christ-follower?
- Have we become lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God?
Right now there are philosophies and ideals that are manifesting in mainline denominations that would seem preposterous to Christians living in areas of the world that are experiencing persecution. In America, we have the luxury of actually talking about how we don’t desire to worship with Christians who are of a different ethnicity. They say they don’t want to have to explain worship styles and it’s just easier to worship alongside similarly minded (and looking) Christians. This is a conversation that is uniquely American in nature.
You have other conversations going on in the American church about certain ethnicities being oppressed while others are privileged and how certain people groups should feel a sense of guilt because of their ethnicity. The sins of the fathers are still hanging over their heads. They say the only way to solve these situations is if the ethnicities in positions of power give up their positions to the perceived oppressed ethnicity, disregarding call or qualifications.
Moreover, we have entire denominations claiming that the Bible doesn’t mean what it clearly says about homosexuality. We have the prosperity gospel enjoying immense success which puts the emphasis on things rather than holiness. All of these conversations are going on in American Christianity while our brothers and sisters in China, Nigeria, Iran, and other places are hiding out just to meet in underground churches. They are reading smuggled in Bibles. Entire villages face extermination because they name the name of Christ. I know the heart of the Father has to be grieved.
If you are not keeping up and watching what’s happening in this great land of the free and home of the brave you better start. There are movements going on politically and socially that are trying to silence the voice of Christianity. The sexualization of our children by the media, school systems, and entertainment is in full bloom. The murdering of babies in the womb remains legal and there are those who will fight to the death to make sure it stays that way. Homosexual marriage (and therefore homosexuality itself) received the stamp of approval from the highest court of the land. And before we breathe a sigh of relief because we dodged the bullet of a President Hillary Clinton we must be ready for a coming administration that WILL NOT be friendly towards Christianity or our God. It’s coming sooner or later.
Prosperity can be like a sedative that induces sleep. It’s evident that America with all its bounty has been spiritually asleep for a while now. I’m reminded of the words of Jesus to the Laodicean church in Revelation 3:17-19
For you say, ‘I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,’ and yet do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire[e] so that you may be rich, and white garments to put on so that your shameful nakedness may not be exposed, and buy ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise. Be earnest, therefore, and repent.
I pray that America would awaken and follow the Lord’s instruction to desire that which has been refined by holy fire that will wipe away all stain and that the true apparel of America would be white garments bestowed by Jesus that our shame and nakedness not be exposed. That America would desire divine ointment to smear on our eyes so we can see clearly. I believe God loves America but we as a nation have to be earnest and repent.
Christians in America would do well to remember the stern warning that God gave his people in Deuteronomy. As they prepared to enter the Promised Land He warned them to be careful to do all that He had commanded them that they may live and multiply. They should remember how He led them for forty years in the wilderness testing and humbling them so they would know what was in their hearts. They should remember that He fed them with manna from heaven that they would know their true source. They should remember that their clothing did not wear out and their feet did not swell in all those years. They should remember that God disciplines them as a son with love and care.
Only then did He reveal His great promises if they would obey.
- A land of brooks of water, fountains, and springs (prosperity) flowing out in all the valleys and hills.
- A land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees, and pomegranates.
- A land of olive trees and honey.
- A land where they would eat bread without scarcity and would lack nothing.
- A land whose stones are iron and hills could be mined for copper
- A place where they could eat and be full and bless the Lord their God for the good land He had given them.
Doesn’t this sound like the great land of America as well? Again there is a stern warning and I would say that it’s here that America has turned away. He goes on to say:
Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and His rules and His statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was not water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with mana that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, my power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth (Deuteronomy 8:11-17).
It seems that we have forgotten the God who raised up this great nation. We have served the gods of prosperity and self-indulgence. God is solemnly warning America that it will surely perish like the nations that disobeyed Him before if there is no repentance.
While we yet have time, we have to pray that God will awaken the church in this great country. We can repent and turn from our wicked ways. From being lulled to sleep by the prosperity of the land and by turning back to the God who made Americans prosperous, to begin with. The powerful quote below is attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville (though there is a debate about that). Nonetheless whoever said it the message it conveys rings true today:
“I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers—and it was not there…in her fertile fields and boundless forests—and it was not there…in her rich mines and her vast world commerce—and it was not there…in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution—and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”
America can only be great if America turns back to our great God.