Today we celebrate our nation’s independence. Our founders crafted an eloquent and articulate declaration that laid out the framework of how our nation would be different than any other nation on the earth. They believed that a new government, a new way of life, needed to accompany how this nation was to be established. As Christians, we also enter into a new way of life, under the governance of our King, Jesus. His Kingdom supersedes any earthly governance, and King Jesus gives us clear commands for how to live on this earth. ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37b-39 NKJV
The Apostle Paul doubles down on these commands of King Jesus when he wrote to the church at Colossae, laying out the framework for the Character of the New Man.
12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. - Colossians 3:12-17 NKJV
In a nation that is currently struggling to find common ground and unity on anything frankly, could we, the Body of Christ, the Church, Citizens of Heavens, sojourners in the state of New York lead our nation by example? Above all the things that divide us, can we put on love, which is the bond of perfection? What would happen to our neighborhoods, workplaces, families, communities, even our nation, if we let the peace of God rule our hearts and were thankful? I know our nation has its problems, I won’t fantasize otherwise. I’m deeply convinced though that if we would pursue love we will see the United States of America.
God has blessed our nation. Let us be the generation that pursues a loving unity that transcends politics, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, identity, and any other societal outcry that is seeking to divide us. The bond of perfection is in love, the Love of Jesus, who while we were still sinners died for us.
Celebrating one nation under God,
Pastor Joshua Ogle