series of pamphlets, “The American Crisis,” Thomas Paine wrote, “those who
expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of
supporting it.” His words ring true today, though our struggles may take on
The Declaration of Independence recognized that freedom was God-given; yet it
also took “sweat” to preserve for present and future generations. This
Independence Weekend, I’d like to share a Biblical perspective on what it means
for the followers of Jesus to “S-W-E-A-T” for their nation and bless it with the
freedom Jesus has secured for all with the sacrifice of his own sweat and blood.
We bless the nation by our obedience to God even when others are not. Jesus died
to set us free from sin. When God’s people exercise their freedom from sin to
live in holiness and righteousness, we honor God and sweat for the nation.
“Never tire of doing good” (Galatians 6:9), the Bible says; and
“Righteousness exalts a nation.” (Proverbs 14:34).
We bless the nation by making the most of every opportunity to share the hope we
have in Jesus. This nation is blessed whenever they meet Jesus through an
authentic, respectful, caring, expression of our faith (1 Peter 3:15). Jesus
tells us to expect to “sweat it out” a little in the public arena, “on my
account,” he says, “you will be brought before governors and kings as
witnesses.” (Matthew 10:18).
We bless the nation by our enlistment to serve. Jesus never planned for us to
stay hidden among the safe circle of his follower. He constantly sent his
followers out, “to heal, raise, cleanse, drive out, and freely give”
(Matthew 10:8ff). While scripture tells us that we are not to adopt the sinful
ways of the world, we are to be enlisted as God’s servants in the world. Jesus
prayed for that to be so of us (John 17:9ff) Jeremiah taught the exiles,
“seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into
exile... because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:9).
We bless the nation by assembling together for worship. The Bible warns that the
more difficult the times, the greater temptation there will be to neglect
gathering together in worship; and yet such times make it all the more necessary
that we do so (Hebrews 10:25). In many instances, the Bible makes a direct
connection with faithful people in worship and the prosperity of the nation. The
Psalms call for a faithful gathering of praise concluding, “then the land
will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us.” (Psalm 67:6).
We bless the nation when we show our trust in God by commending it and our
leaders to God in prayer. “In God We Trust” may be the national motto, but it’s
nothing but a slogan unless the followers of Jesus actually carry this nation to
God in prayer. Every time we use money, it can be a reminder to bless the nation
with our prayers. Paul calls this the “first order of discipleship,” namely,
“that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--for
kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in
all godliness and holiness.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
Will Rogers cleverly said, “Liberty doesn't work as well in practice as it
does in speeches.” The followers of Jesus are called to do some sweating for
the nation by putting the word into practice; but bear in mind that Jesus’ sweat
and blood made true and eternal freedom even possible to sweat for.
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505 S Park RD | La Grange IL 60525
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