What's Your Flag?

Guest post by Shawn Cornett based on his June 28th, 2015 sermon entitled "Flags." Shawn is the Pastor of Griffith First Christian Church in northwest Indiana. He blogs regularly at The Lavished Pauper.

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Our indivisible nation is divided by flags.

I woke up this past Saturday morning to a bunch of Facebook posts about flags. There are those who believe that burning the American flag is an expression of free speech. Others believe that the Confederate flag is a symbol of racism and hatred. And some believe that waving a rainbow flag symbolizes a fight for equal rights and protections.

However, flags often cause just as much division as they do unity. Burning the American flag divides because many see it as an act of treason. The Confederate flag divides because some believe it preserves their heritage and history. And the rainbow flag divides because others believe it represents an attack on "traditional" family values.

No matter how divisive, everyone seems to have a flag to wave. However, I don't believe that a follower of Christ should pledge allegiance to anyone or anything other than Jesus. Is it okay to be patriotic? Yes. Is it okay to be sympathetic? Of course. But the Bible tells us that we must have no gods before the one true God. We follow Jesus in total surrender--that's what it means to follow someone. It means that we stop going in our own direction in order to go their direction.

In fact, the prophet, Isaiah, foretold of a time when Jesus (the root of Jesse) would stand as a banner for all peoples:
In that day the root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious.
The Hebrew word for "banner" (nec) is a word that means flag. It was a battle flag that would rally people to it. They would hoist this banner or flag to call people and soldiers to the place where the flag was raised.

This is why Jesus said to Nicodemus that he must be lifted up. Just as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on the pole, so would Jesus be lifted up on a cross and whoever believed would have eternal life in him. Those who looked upon the bronze snake were healed. Those who lift their eyes up to Jesus Christ are forgiven.  

So how do we respond to all of this division in our country and in our churches? What do we do with this banner of the cross? What flag should we, as followers of Christ, wave high above our heads?

The white flag of surrender. 

Jesus called us to follow him: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." If you want to follow him as his disciple, you must deny yourself and take up your cross every day in complete and total submission. The white flag of surrender demands that you submit to Jesus Christ in every aspect of your life. 

If equal rights causes you to hate your traditional value-loving brother, you're waving the wrong flag. If civil rights causes you to despise the heritage of your sister, you're waving the wrong flag. If speech rights causes anyone to feel scorned for their love of country, you're waving the wrong flag.

Consider what flag you're waving as a follower of Christ. Because if the first flag you pick up in the morning is anything other than a white flag of surrender to Jesus, you're doing it wrong.


photo credit: flags via photopin (license)

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