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American Girl faith


July 3, 2017
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I have three kids—two boys and a girl—all within a year of each other.

Our two boys were born in Ethiopia and joined our family through adoption.

When we adopted the boys they immediately became a legal part of our family, but it took a solid year for everyone to feel like family.

I remember several times when a “mutual indifference” was obvious between my daughter and sons. I understood why.

The boys had a longer relationship with each other than with their sister, and at that point they weren’t speaking much English.

I specifically remember once when my daughter quietly slipped away from the living room, shut her door, and spent the rest of the afternoon/evening pretending her Kit Kittredge “American Girl” doll was her sister and family.

It made sense. Kit spoke the same language and had the same hair and skin color.

To my daughter, Kit cared about all the same things she did. But Kit was not real.

Her brothers, with all their differences, were (and are) her real family.

An overly patriotic life does the exact same thing.

When we put the concerns of our country over the concerns for the global family of Christ, we abandon the true family of God for a cheap plastic replica that will not last.

Here are three reasons we should place our faith in God alone and not in the United States of America:

The United States of America is not God’s Chosen Country.

Israel wasn’t replaced by the US in 1776.

At the cross Jesus died for all people, making a way for people from all nations to be “grafted in” (Romans 11) and become God’s chosen people (1 Peter 2:9-10).

We can argue about who the “remnant” is, and whether modern day Israel will still be redeemed, but one thing is clear: the United States of America will never, ever, ever be God’s chosen country.

I’ve heard people refer to American Christians as “dual citizens.”

I understand what they are trying to say. We do need to live responsibly as part of the government structure God has sovereignly placed us within.

Peter commands believers to “honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17). But realize Peter’s exhortation comes after commanding them to first love believers and fear God.

Our respect for earthly kingdoms flows out of an understanding that God has granted temporary authority to our leaders, and our allegiance to Him means we respect and honor our temporary country.

The United States of America is not our eternal home.

Hebrews 11 gives us the example of faith we should seek to emulate.

These men and women whose lives were marked by faith were “strangers and exiles” who were “seeking a homeland.”

They desired a “better country” so God is “not ashamed to be their God” and “He prepared an eternal city” for them (Hebrews 11:14-16).

When this world ends, all kingdoms will fall under the reign of God’s eternal kingdom.

Believers should live as citizens of heaven, temporarily assigned as ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) to a temporary country.

We should enjoy and celebrate our temporary status as US citizens, but those blue passports won’t work in the new heavens and new earth.

It’s fine for a believer to be temporarily “proud to be an American,” but realize you will be eternally grateful to be a Christian.

It’s good to enjoy the blessings we have on US soil, but we should hope and long for our eternal home.

The United States of America is not our family.

In Revelation 7:9 we see a picture of people from “every nation, tribe, people and language” standing before the throne.

This is a picture of the family of God. No kingdoms, republics, or democracies will stand in that day, but we all will fall under the rule and reign of Christ as we stand together as one family for all eternity.

This picture should redefine nationalistic allegiances for us.

Christ forms a bond between believers that rises above culture, language, and nation.

Because of this, a follower of Christ serving as an American soldier has a stronger bond and a deeper allegiance to the Christ-following Syrian refugee than the non-believing soldier he shares a foxhole with.

It’s an eternal bond purchased by the blood of Christ.

When we remember those who have sacrificed their lives for our country, let’s also remember those of all nations who have given their lives for their faith (an average of 322 per month according to opendoorsusa.org).

We should honor the leaders of our country. We should be grateful for a temporary place to share eternal truths. And we should be excited and grateful about the ways God has used people from the US to be a blessing to all families of the earth through missions and service globally and at home.

However, we should never replace faith in an eternal King, hope in an eternal kingdom, and love for an eternal family, with an allegiance to a temporary republic.

Just like my daughter’s “American Girl” doll, that’s a cheap substitute for genuine faith.

  • John Patton

    Great article Brian! Good stuff for us to keep in mind.