Turn on your radio to any local talk show and before long you will hear someone complaining that God is being removed from our society. Without a doubt this person will site such examples as: the removal of “In God We Trust” from our money, the unconstitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance because of the phrase “one nation under God”, the removal of Ten Commandments displays from public buildings, or the prohibition of prayer in schools. Many Christians have “rallied ‘round the flag” of the fight to keep God’s name in the consciousness of America by keeping God’s name on our money, on our walls and on our lips. But is this the fight that a Christian should be engaged in? Is the purpose of the Church to fight for the public display of God’s name? Or is the fact that God’s name is being removed from our society merely a symptom of a greater illness?
If a doctor addresses the symptoms of his patience’s disease but never diagnoses the problem he is at best incompetent, at worst irresponsible. The same is true with our current societal sickness. God being removed from our society is but a symptom of a greater illness. If all our efforts are going to “cure” the symptoms then have we really accomplished anything? The illness is that people have not given their hearts to God and this is manifested by the symptoms of removing all traces of God from society. What then does God want from us as a nation? 1) God wants His name on our hearts, not just on our walls, 2) God wants us to not only honor Him with our lips but with our hearts and 3) God wants us to obey his voice and then He will be our God and we His people.
God wants His name on our hearts, not just on our walls. As Moses’ life is coming to a close, he relates the words of God to the Israelites “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.” (Deu 6:5, 6). Moses follows this statement with commands to teach the law diligently to their children and write the law on the doorpost and gates of their homes (Deu 6:7, 9). If his law does not dwell in our hearts then the practice of writing his name on our doorpost and gates yields nothing. For many generations God’s name and laws have been written on the doorpost and gates of our country with little results because they are not written on the hearts of the people. Christians should fight to write the name of God on the hearts of people not on the walls of our country.
God wants us to not only honor Him with our lips but with our hearts. In rebuking the Pharisees of His day, Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah saying “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” (Matt 15:8, 9) God does not want our lip-service by the minting of his name on our money, or the posting of commandments, or the recital of the pledge; God wants our hearts! Don’t be fooled by the devil. If we engage in the fight to keep God’s name in society without the people of this nation first giving God their hearts, then we only exacerbate the illness.
God wants us to obey His voice and then He will be our God and we His people. Our nation exists in a paradox. Some would call us a “Christian nation”, yet immorality permeates our society. Does the placing of God’s name on our money, our walls or in our schools make us a “Christian nation”? From Jeremiah we learn God’s thoughts “Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.” (Jer 7:23) If this nation is to ever be considered a “Christian Nation” then we need to heed the voice of God and to walk in His ways. We must write His name and law on our hearts, we must draw near to Him in worship not with our lips only but first with our hearts and in doing so He will bless us and it will be well with us.
Our efforts should not go to secure God’s name in the emblems of our nation. Our efforts must go toward securing God’s name in the hearts of our friends, family and nation. When we direct our efforts to curing the illness, the symptoms will then take care of themselves.