Looking at the original languages that the Scriptures were written in often give us a view of their deeper meaning. Today is a clear example of such. When I think of the English word faithful I think of being full of faith or being steady and constant. The idea definitely includes those things, but the heart of its use in this passage is the idea of loyalty. I get it that being loyal may be seen much the same as constance. On this Memorial Day allow me illustrate the difference in how I wear my patriotism.
First of all it should be noted that I am as much of a blue-blooded American as the next guy. I’m even listening to Born in the U.S.A. as I type this… no, really I am. I would give my life to defend this country and oppose its oppressors. However, my first loyalty is not to this country. I am first and foremost a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20). This is why it is my personal opinion that patriotism and worship should not share the same space. Some of the most daring words I’ve ever heard in a Christian song were written by Derek Webb and say this…
My first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
My first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
It’s to a king & a kingdom
I think it is precisely this kind of loyalty that is spoken of… a loyalty to Jesus that supersedes even one’s patriotism. Jesus even suggested that our love for him ought to make our love of family seem to be hatred. That’s what he was saying in Luke 14:26 when he said, “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison — your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters — yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.”
May we aspire to this level of faithfulness!