Being a Patriot Isn’t Always Peaceful…

For my first official blog post, I thought I would address something that has been on my mind quite a bit lately. In fact, by the time this blog is published, it will have been quite the project because I have been writing and praying through it for weeks. Hopefully you were able to read my first post about why I am starting this blog. I named this blog “The Peaceful Patriot” for a reason.  It sounds a little self contradictory doesn’t it? Those two don’t typically go together, and you would be right. But for now, I want to dive into this. In this blog I will cover the definition of a patriot, the boundaries of a patriot, and the reason it’s important to BE a patriot and what that looks like in 2014 in the various establishments we are apart of… Who were the patriots of the Bible?  I have a ton of thoughts and will try my best not to write a novel. That’s possibly for another day, so here we go.

What is a Patriot? What are the first things that come to mind when you think of that word/character? For me, it brings to mind a person who is willing to do what’s necessary, even to the point of martyrdom to stand up for what that person believes in. They are willing to fight injustice with more than mere words, if it comes to that. One could assume that a patriot is always wanting to go to war. But I don’t think that is true. Martin Luther said this:

“Peace if possible, truth at all costs.”

Being a patriot doesn’t have to immediately imply battle. This is why I named my blog what I did.  I believe that God wants us AT peace within  ourselves and through Him. I also believe that God wants us to live in peace with others when it’s possible. (Romans 12:18) But I also believe that truth requires a battle and is WORTH FIGHTING FOR. That’s where the patriot part comes in.

By definition:

  1. patriot n.noun

    1. One who loves, supports, and defends one’s country.

Synonyms loyalist

Now lets talk about Loyalist for a minute. The synonym for Patriot is listed as “loyalist” But I reject that notion that they are one and the same. The definitions alone prove that they are in fact the opposite.

loyalist n.noun

    1. One who maintains loyalty to an established government, political party, or sovereign, especially during war or revolutionary change.

 

As I have been thinking about and praying through some things I see going in the world today, and in my country. I have become burdened with all that I see going on.  My “patriot” or “revolutionary” tendencies are twitching in full force.  To be honest, at times, I feel helpless to do anything at all. But it was in those moments of crying out to God about what was going on and what God wants me to do.   First of all it was to PRAY.  This was bigger than me, but as He reminded me, GOD WAS BIGGER than all of this. Through this process though, I believe that there is a reason He has created me to be a revolutionary.  During this time, God started to shift my thoughts about being a patriot. As we established earlier, by definition a patriot is someone who loves, supports and defends (fights for) one’s country.  But is our country just bound to our geography?  Or can our “country” also be whatever establishments we have committed our allegiance to?  Which begged the next question. Could my church ALSO be my country? Yes, yes it can.  And it SHOULD be.  Our church is the body of Christ. An extension of HIM. How could I not do my part to fight for the “institution” that is responsible for the preaching of God’s covenant love for us?  It is not a mere building but so much bigger than that. God does not promise the church or his believers that we will not endure hardship, or false prophets, or persecution. In fact, he promises it.

“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.”  2 Timothy 3:1-5

“And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them.” Romans 16:17

“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.”

1 Timothy 4:1-2

“You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matthew 10:22

How is that for a warm fuzzy?

I honestly believe that being a believer automatically enlists you in God’s Army and makes you a patriot. Someone who is willing to fight for the freedom of our church and the body of Christ against all that would try to destroy and ensnare it. “The enemy comes a roaring lion seeking that which he can destroy.”  He WANTS to destroy the church. Every church. He will use ANY means necessary to do it. And just like the enemy soldiers who are also patriots for THEIR cause, the enemy is a patriot of HELL.  Make no mistake, he has already been defeated and will meet his ultimate end but he will also try to kill as many of our patriots as possible in the process. He will use deception and tolerance to sway our leaders, friends and coworkers.  He is no respecter of person and knows no boundaries.  He KNOWS it is harder to stand up to our friends than to our enemies.  So why not use the church and the people in it to further HIS cause without them even knowing it? In essence, he has declared a WAR on the church. How has he done it? Through division, pride, deceipt, and discord, among other things. He is smart, he is cunning. He knows all he has to do is divide within.  He knows that he can come “as an angel of light” and bring a hint of truth surrounded by lies and that there will be a few that bite.  He also knows that over time, if something SOUNDS good, or FEELS good, then it must be true, right?  He also knows how to play the pharisee game.  Yes there were pharisees, and Jesus openly rebuked and corrected them.  They were known as the legalists of their day.  But he also knows how to play the dangerous game of deceiving people in thinking that those who ultimately stand for the truth of Gods word could/will be labeled as such as to discredit them.  You see it in the news.  People who are called “Truthers” are talked about as if it’s a bad thing! Those that want the simple truth are mocked and ridiculed.  The enemy is camped at our churches waiting for the opportunity to dive in.

“For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel.” Martin Luther

So what does that mean? Fellow believers could use the argument:  I don’t want to stir up “discord” or “division” in the church. That’s one of the things the Lord hates.  “I don’t want to OFFEND my leaders or my friends”  Good point. That is true. We are to be vigilent in our patriotism to avoid gossip, and dissension to the WRONG people.  But lets not for one second be deceived in thinking that it means we are not to hold our leaders accountable and for speaking out for truth. We are to do this is love, but we are to do it.  And we are to seek wisdom and discernment from the Holy Spirit on how to do so.  God actually empowers us to “test every spirit” and to be alert.

SIDE NOTE****Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not calling for you to march into your church and start screaming and rebuking someone that you feel is not doing the right thing. That’s just not using wisdom. God is also a God of order and the right steps.  Matthew 18 lays that out.  We are to walk in the spirit of truth AND love AND wisdom. If we react out of anger, or self righteousness, it will only invite more damage. As a good friend of mine says, “Stupid hurts.” Walking out in love means knowing what love looks like.  Love is patient, it is kind…Love does not attack and is NOT puffed up. We are not to make ourselves enemies by conducting ourselves in a dishonorable way.  We are called to sharpen each other and have each other’s backs.  But we also need to go in aware that people will not agree. And in that instance, we are not to waver in TRUTH, but we can remain in love. We are to approach our leaders with honor and respect as David did with Saul.  We are not to undermine the authority God has rested on them and we are responsible for HOW we proceed. Furthermore, and most importantly, we are to PRAY for our church leaders, just as we are to pray for our government leaders. I will be the first to say that I do not do this ENOUGH.  Leading God’s people is certainly not for the faint of heart. They are responsible for shepherding others and God requires a great deal of responsibility from them.  That opens them up for major attack and assault. They are not to be put on a pedestal or assumed to be perfect and without flaws.  They are not immune to falling prey to deception, lust, or any other sin or addiction. They need a covering in the form of prayer to do the job God has called them to do. We must pray for and impart courage on our leaders.  IT takes great courage to lead people, but it takes even more courage for leaders to be led. They are spending time and resources to do the will of God and the job is not a piece of cake.

That being said, we also have the responsibility as peers, friends and believers to participate in sharpening each other for the purpose of building up the body. Not for revenge, not for the sake of being right or appearing more “holy” or whatever that means. But for the sake of encouraging others to be all that God asks us to be. It needs to be with the motive of protection; for the leaders, and the body.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 

As Patriots, we need to know the word of God enough on our own that if/when someone is in need of “reproof or correction” we can stand firm in what God says and proceed accordingly.

 God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what. Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.”  Hebrews 4:12-16 (MSG)

One could say… That is really hard to do. Question others?  If I stand up and speak out for truth, I will be putting a target on my back!” Yes, that’s possible.

I would love to believe this statement…

“It is lamentable, that to be a good patriot one must become the enemy of the rest of mankind.”  Unknown

But that is not always possible. It would be great if we could speak the truth in love, and it would be received and people would adjust their actions, or behavior.  But if not, this would put you in the same category of several other people who have had to stand alone, in the face of friends, family, coworkers, peers, you name it.  And that goes along with what Jesus asked of us when He said to “take up our cross and follow him.” No, in reality, a patriot has to be willing to stand alone. It takes courage to stand alone.

 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

“In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.” Mark Twain

“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.” Edward Abbey

And if God calls us to stand up for something; when we do, we have reward. By reward I mean that He will stay with us through the storm that can come after. He never leaves us or forsakes us.

“Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Mark 13:13

“The patriot who feels himself in the service of God, who acknowledges Him in all his ways, has the promise of Almighty direction, and will find His Word in his greatest darkness.” Francis Scott Key

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come…

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;

in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”  2 Timothy 4:3-8

How totally awesome is it that God promises us to be with us going into, in the midst of, and coming out of the battles we must fight???

 

If we look at the people who called themselves loyalists in the revolutionary war times, we see that they also considered themselves patriots. They wanted the same things that the patriots wanted. They wanted freedom to govern themselves and worship as they wanted.  But at the end of the day, their choices defined them. At some point, a line gets drawn in the sand and we have to decide what we will do, or not do.  At the end of the day, good intentions are not enough. Some could see that last statement as rather extreme. I would agree with you.  But one day, I will stand before the throne of God and give account for what I did, not what I intended to do. Our founding fathers fought for freedom and for the right to live it out. Our constitution gives us the right of free speech and to worship who we choose.  With that freedom, we have a responsibility to use it for good.

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:16

Being a patriot is NOT easy. It’s not comfortable.  But I believe God didn’t call us to comfortable like some would want us to believe. Just reading the book of Job should be proof enough that God allows us to go through things. It is up to us how we respond.  Notice there is only ONE Job. Notice he is the ONLY one mentioned in the Bible that Jesus offered up as a servant as Satan was roaming the earth. Being willing to stand for God can feel like a one man army at times.

And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. “Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.” Luke 10:2-3

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Matthew 7:13-14

 

Patriots of the Bible

First and foremost, I believe Jesus was a patriot. His death on the cross alone proves how far He was willing to go for the greater good and ultimately our salvation. He was NOT a loyalist, except to His heavenly Father. In fact, He was famous for speaking out against the “religious” law of the day going against their protocol and calling them out.

Esther who happens to be my FAVORITE story and person in the Bible (other than Jesus of course) was a TRUE patriot and in some ways, a double agent.  She was the Sydney Bristow of her day (I’m an Alias geek).  She was obedient to what God called her to do and through her wisdom, God granted her great favor with the King and some of his people..  But at the end of the day, she was willing to face evil and willing to die in order to save her and God’s people. “If I perish, then I perish” Esther 4:16 CANNOT get enough of this story!

Paul was definitely a patriot of his day and during very perilous times. “Paul knew how to keep the salvation message as a priority. There were many other services that Paul could have rendered to the Jews, but it was the gospel and evangelism that burdened his heart..… Paul was ready for any sacrifice to help his kinsmen find salvation through Jesus Christ. Paul was willing to expose himself to much pain, heartache and ridicule because of his love for his people. He prepared himself for great risks… Paul’s fixation on the glory that would be revealed to him helped him overshadow any immediate hardship that he might have to face. Paul tried to make his country better by bringing new birth to those around him. God will always provide compensation for those who are willing to be a good soldier of Christ. The temporary troubles of advancing the kingdom of God are insignificant in comparison with the glories that will be revealed to those who exemplified Godly patriotism…”

“…Someday God is going to ask you why you were only willing to go so far in your patriotism. Follow the example of the apostle Paul whose sad realization that many of his fellow community members were on their way to a Christ less eternity in hell unless they heard and responded to the gospel. Should we not do the same as Paul or are we merely willing to just be C- patriots?”  Taken from a sermon by Paul Fritz

Job as I mentioned before was also a patriot. Now if you read his story, you don’t see him immediately reaching thousands because of his choices. It was to his own family and his friends that he stood up against.  They all told him to “curse God and die” because of what he was being put through.  HIS OWN FAMILY PEOPLE.  That would be like your spouse or mom or dad looking at you and telling you not to follow God anymore.  He didn’t relent though.  He stayed strong.  He may have not fought in great battles or affected government.  But his “country” was his own salvation and that of His family’s. He set the example and never wavered in his allegiance to God.  He was willing to face hardship and possible death. We have to ask ourselves, “Am I willing to do the same? Am I willing to go against those closest to me to stand for truth?”

There are many more in the Bible, including but not limited to Moses, Aaron, Noah, David, Joshua, Rahab, Gideon, Nehemiah, Timothy, the disciples, just to name a few. All imperfect, but it is their lives that lead us by example. However, naming all of them would make this blog much longer.

 

Patriots of the Church

The famed Nineteenth Century revivalist Charles G. Finney had some bold words for the church. He said:

“If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discernment, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in Christianity, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it.”

So here is my question. If the pulpit and the pastors/leaders behind it are responsible for the moral fabric of our nation; WHO will defend and protect the pulpit?

“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ however boldly I may be professing Christ…

Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

Martin Luther

We cannot forget Martin Luther. HE was a patriot.

“Martin Luther nailed a sheet of paper with 95 theses on the university’s (University of Wittenburg) chapel door. Though he intended these to be discussion points, the Ninety-Five Theses laid out a devastating critique of the indulgences as corrupting people’s faith. The Church eventually moved to stop the act of defiance. In October 1518, at a meeting with Cardinal Thomas Cajetan in Augsburg, Martin Luther was ordered to recant his Ninety-Five Theses by the authority of the pope. Luther said he would not recant unless scripture proved him wrong. He went further, stating that he didn’t consider the papacy had the authority to interpret scripture. The meeting ended in a shouting match and initiated his ultimate excommunication from the Church .In January 1521, Martin Luther was officially excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church. In March, he was summoned before the Diet of Worms, a general assembly of secular authorities. Again, Luther refused to recant his statements, demanding he be shown any scripture that would refute his position. There was none. On May 8, 1521, the council released the Edict of Worms, banning Luther’s writings and declaring him a “convicted heretic.” This made him a condemned and wanted man. Friends helped him hide out at the Wartburg Castle. While in seclusion, he translated the New Testament into the German language, to give ordinary people the opportunity to read God’s word…”

“…Martin Luther is one of the most influential and controversial figures in the Reformation movement. His actions fractured the Roman Catholic Church into new sects of Christianity and set in motion reform within the Church. A prominent theologian, his desire for people to feel closer to God led him to translate the Bible into the language of the people, radically changing the relationship between church leaders and their followers.”  Taken from a biography of Martin Luther

 

Revolutionary Patriots

“The “Black Regiment” (also called the “Black-Robed Regiment”) is a group of patriot-pastors who greatly assist America’s fight for freedom by courageously preaching the Biblical principles of liberty and independence from their pulpits. These are preachers from virtually every protestant denomination throughout. The moniker came from the tendency of these preachers to wear long, black robes in their pulpits. Modern-day preachers who emulate our Christian forebears and once again “proclaim liberty throughout the land.” Courageous men of God who are not afraid to preach the truth to power. Men who are not enamored with popularity or position. Men who are not trying to be politically correct or appeal to the wealthy and affluent. Men who love America’s Christian history and heritage. Men who support and defend the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence. Men who are willing to publicly condemn injustice, duplicity, and infidelity (to the Constitution and the American people) regardless of which political party or individual politician promotes it. The “Black Regiment” is a group of patriot-preachers from virtually every protestant denomination located throughout who courageously preached the Biblical principles of liberty and independence”

It was actually THIS group that England feared MORE than the armies and soldiers. They had influence and they used it.

Other patriots of that day include: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Sam Adams, Benjamin Franklin, all the soldiers who fought in the war and the families who supported them.  There are many many more.

 

Modern Day Patriots

This is a great question… Who are the modern day patriots? Who are the people who have stood up for truth in a culture that tells us God is irrelevant, among other things? Some that come to my mind are Billy Graham, John Ashcroft, Franklin Graham, Ronald Reagan, and many more unnamed ones.

Ronald Reagan happens to be my favorite modern day President. I was a small kid when he was president but I remember the way my dad talked about him. My dad even had the honor of working with him at times.  Reagan was the real deal and while he was not perfect, he was not afraid to speak the truth and stand by it. He was a true leader and his words were spoken with a gentle authority that is rare these days. This was one of his famous speeches.  It was truly amazing. It is true in so many arenas.  I would actually encourage you to listen to or read his entire speech.  It has many eerily spot on remarks about what our nation and the church are faced with today, 30 years later. The link to his whole speech is underneath the video. As you are watching the video, I ask you to listen to this, not just in the context of our nation, but the church as well.

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/ronaldreaganatimeforchoosing.htm

“There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.”

Ronald Reagan

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. Would love to hear your thoughts on anything I brought up in here.  I will ask you this… Where do you stand?  What do you consider yourself to be? A Patriot? A Loyalist? Me personally, I believe there is NO in between. We are called to be PEACEFUL PATRIOTS and this is our battle cry!

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

Blessings on you and your family!

The Peaceful Patriot