Patriot vs. Partisan
What is a patriot? What is the difference between patriotism and partisanship? How do you act as a patriot without compromising your heavenly citizenship?
Let's explore this topic together in today's devotional:
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.” – Romans 10:1 (NKJV)
Several years ago, I had the honour and privilege of taking an oath to become a citizen of the United States of America. This meant forsaking the country of my birth, where I grew up until 10 years old, where my ancestors served as kings, where my mother serves in high political office and is a prominent businesswoman, and where I have over one thousand family members. It was the hardest decision of my life that took over 10 years of contemplation before making a decision. What led to my final decision was that, although I was born in Cameroon, I have become more American than Cameroonian. In addition, my wife and children are American citizens, America had provided me with so many opportunities and it would help to facilitate God’s purpose for my life. Since becoming a citizen, I have had the privilege of casting my vote in several presidential elections. I am proud to be an American!
Despite its challenges, America has such a rich history of freedom, heroism, industry, opportunity, and caring for mankind. Only in America can a young 11-year-old boy come from Africa without speaking English and eventually lead an international organization and serve as a coach to some of the smartest and most promising entrepreneurs. Only in America can you leave so much behind in exchange for so much more. America remains one of the greatest nations on earth. Unfortunately, this great nation is currently at great risk – not due to terrorism or to an economic crisis – but due to political partisanship. “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand” (Mark 3:24). Political partisanship is an inclination to favour one group, view or opinion over alternatives. Political partisanship is not just dividing the nation, but it is dividing the body of Christ along political lines. Partisanship is robbing us of our Christianity. It is dimming our light and therefore hindering our ability to be effective witnesses. It sometimes comes disguised as patriotism. Partisanship is not patriotic. One can be a patriot and a Christian but it is difficult for one to be partisan and remain a faithful Christian. Partisanship blinds us of truth and causes us to impute motives to others. Patriotism focuses on truth and gives others the benefit of the doubt. We need more patriots in our nation today.
A patriot is someone who loves his or her country and is prepared to defend it against all enemies or detractors. It is a commitment to the country first and then self. It is one who is prepared to lay down his or her life for the best interest of the nation. A patriot recognizes that though we may have different views and ideas on how to do something, we all ultimately have the same goal. There should be no greater patriot in a nation than the Christian.
The apostle Paul modelled for us how to be an ambassador for Christ while being a patriot and a statesman for his country. He honoured the accomplishments of Israel and the values that shaped that great nation while challenging them to turn towards Christ. He prayed for them that they may be saved and know the person of Jesus Christ, but he recognized that they had a zeal for God even though it was not according to knowledge. He showed high regard and respect for the authorities that were in place and took the opportunity to respectfully challenge them based on the standards of Christ. He risked his gains as an Israelite for the sake of his relationship with Christ. How do you operate in your country as a Christian patriot?
- Recognize that you are there as an ambassador of Christ and therefore are held to a higher standard
- You are not there to overtake the government and society but to be salt and light within the government and the society through your example
- Your allegiance is always towards heaven and never towards the earth
- The best way to model Christ is to combine the great commandment with the great commission
- Use every opportunity to show Christ through your service
- Respect and honour the authorities in place regardless of who is in power
- Pray for the nation and its leaders continuously
One of my favourite passages is Philippians 3:4-11, where the apostle Paul recounts his rich heritage but is willing to count it as loss for a richer heritage with Christ:
“Though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” – Philippians 3:4-11 (NKJV)
When our desire for Christ is stronger than our desire for our natural agenda we will be able to move from partisans to Christian patriots.
My prayer for you today is that you will evaluate your current mindset and action and acknowledge where you have operated more as a partisan than a Christian patriot. Repent and seek God for the grace and wisdom to become more of a patriot and statesman.
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Copyright © NPIM – Patrice Tsage
Question: Are you a patriot or a partisan?