Something About Allegiance to God You Should Know
I. What Does Allegiance to God Even Mean?
II. The Hypocrisy of the Pledge of Allegiance
III. What Does Fidelity in Religion Mean?
IV. Faithfulness to God is Life Defining
V. How Does One Develop Commitment to God?
What Does Allegiance to God Even Mean?
Allegiance and fidelity to God, and His Word, can be a difficult concept for people to understand. After all, how can you build your life around something that you cannot definitively prove exists?
This article is meant to give you a better understanding of what allegiance (faith) is and how it blesses others.
Here is how the Bible defines allegiance:
More than anything, this word defines a lifestyle. It is, in the most literal sense, total dependence upon something that may or may not be real. I know that Christians say: “I know God is real.”
However, and as I posited in an earlier article, faith is not proof.
Leaning into that a bit further, trusting in something you can see is the opposite of faith.
Yet this is what makes showing allegiance to our God so compelling! You and I have, in the most literal sense, bet our eternal existence on something we can neither see nor prove. This almost makes such belief irrational.
Although it may appear that way, it is actually the opposite. Our lifestyle means that what appears irrational is the most rational lifestyle of all.
Each day, billions of people asked themselves that timeless question: “why am I here and how did I get here?” Most will be surprised to know that people who claim Jesus as Savior asked the same thing.
A Japanese samurai once said: “you could spend your life looking for a cherry blossom and not find it and it would not be a wasted life.”
That thought is the opposite of searching for one’s purpose and how that purpose was manifests. If you spend your entire life searching for it, and not finding it, you have totally wasted your existence!
I once saw a figure which indicated approximately 365,000 people per day die on this planet.
I’ve always wondered how many of them die without having ever realized their true purpose?
That becomes crucial because allegiance to God, means first asking and then living out one’s purpose.
The Hypocrisy of the Pledge of Allegiance
There are people who would have you think data is needed to prove something exists. Others believe because they were taught it, that it must exist as truth.
At the risk of sounding unpatriotic, the Pledge of Allegiance many of us recited in school, is the height of hypocrisy. Subconsciously, it puts allegiance to the state over allegiance to God.
It is no coincidence that the first part of the pledge is to the United States of America.
Although God was inserted into this pledge, the subconscious conditioning must be a large reason why our nation is in trouble right now. Anytime something is mentioned as being aligned to, and demanding our loyalty prior to God, there will always be consequences.
The Bible teaches (Matthew 22:37-39):
What we see here, is Jesus teaching the two greatest commandments. As you can see, loving God, first, comes before loving our neighbor. Truly, neighbor can be substituted with “country” on some level.
Countries are made up of people, and people make up cultures. Nevertheless, we should, first, pledge allegiance to God, and that which comes after will be honored by Him.
Be reminded (Matthew 6:33):
For those so-called patriots seething that I would dare question the authenticity of the Pledge of Allegiance, there is something you need to know.
First, I served years in the United States Marine Corps. I was in Desert Storm in the early 1990s, and in Somalia a few weeks after those choppers went down. I was injured in the cause of my country and now am a disabled veteran.
This is important because unlike most of you so-called patriots who never put on a uniform or were injured, I was! Unlike you, my opinion on this matter is much more valuable because I truly understand it in a way you never will.
Whoa! I can feel the hostility now.
What Does Fidelity in Religion Mean?
People’s understanding of faith can vary widely, so it’s important to understand what fidelity means individually.
It must first be pointed out that there is a difference in fidelity to God and fidelity in religious practice. It is no secret that even in the Christian faith, there are very religious people who have no connection to God.
This is what Jesus said about these people (Matthew 7:22-23):
Don’t assume because you know someone that attends a religious service, they have closeness to God. Being “familiar” with God is much different than being familiar with “dead religious practices.”
It is better to be faithful to God than a staunch religious practitioner. The people who crucified Jesus were religionists with no relationship to God.
Further, there are many diverse types of faith. Some people believe in science, while others believe they can communicate with spiritual beings.
Some people believe in organized religion, while others believe in no religion at all. In the Kingdom of God, however, even not making a fidelity-based decision IS making a decision.
An example of people who say they do not believe, either way, are called Agnostics. However, Jesus Christ said: “you are with him or against him.” The belief that one can sit on the fence is the cruelest of all deceptions.
To be more concise: what you believe is a nondecision (for God), is actually a decision against Him.
Everyone is "loyal" to something, even if it is in themselves. A philosophical argument could be effectively made that: “loyalty in nothing is still loyalty in something.” I will let you iron that out.
What faith is, isn’t necessarily specific to faith as practiced by people like me. This is important because when you know what someone has faith in, it is much easier to introduce them to real faith!
I read somewhere that is is best to be "faithful to something rather than faithful to nothing."
This is not much different than suggesting "be faithful to anything which makes you feel good." This is both unwise and inadvisable. Tell that to former gang members who are in prison or their family members after they are buried.
I would say, nevertheless, is you need faith in the Lord Jesus. This is a no-lose proposition!
Faithfulness to God is Life Defining
Faith is an especially important part of our lives. I recently published an article on believing God when hiring a new Pastor and His Helpmeet.
It seems that those who have the most impact in our lives from a fidelity perspective, are the least scrutinized.
Life defining moments, such as making such a selection, should not be taken lightly.
It also helps us see the importance of our relationships and our desire to stay connected to one another. There is nothing in life, except dying sometimes, that we do alone.
Therefore, understanding this all important concept becomes more critical.
Our life, in the most literal sense, is defined by both whether we have faith and our level of it.
The things that we see, we do not need faith in. Yet it is often these things that destroy the faith we need to believe in things we do not see.
An example of this is when times are going well, people tend to stray away from church and other activities of faith.
When things become catastrophic, we then gravitate back and immediately repair our fidelity to God. COVID19, and church closures, further solidify the truth of this statement!
The doors of most houses of worship were closed during the "plan-demic." Suddenly, that which people took for granted, churches being opened, was missed. When the doors reopened, the church was full at levels not seen for a generation.
However, when the pandemic subsided, people again gravitated away from their fidelity to God.
Life changes in drastic ways and often in very short time periods. Our fidelity and commitment to the holy Bible must be viewed in that light. If not, your life will be defined by discouragement, doubt, and constantly responding to soul draining emergencies.
How Does One Develop Commitment to God
So how does one develop uninterrupted commitment to God?
Begin with realizing that commitment is a choice. It is not something that suddenly overwhelms and compels service - it is developed over time.
It is no small thing to believe in something that you can neither see nor prove. However, when all the accoutrements of religion are removed, we still care more about what people say.
What others think about both what we believe and our commitment to it matters though we pretend it doesn't.
I am not suggesting what someone else thinks should drive fidelity either. However, faith is required because we do not know. The commitment to it should drive every decision we make to include how much (or little) what others think matters.
If you are having a hard time believing faith is so easily given by God, here’s something you should know (Romans 8:24-25):
You choose to believe in things even when you have no proof or evidence.
The only way to know if you’re making the right choice is to trust God to help you develop it.
People who are experts in understanding such commitment to Jesus, often talk about feeling it in your heart, but not knowing why it is felt at all.
Let me be clear: you do not have to define what your faith can produce, only that you expect it to produce “something”.
For instance, faith in the Lord God begins, and ends, with His Will for our lives yet His Will is a mystery to humankind. So, we are expected to trust his will for our lives, although it may forever remain a mystery.
The Bible asks the question: “who knows the mind of the Lord, and who has been His counselor?”
Further scripture reveals that God “knows the plans He has for us, to proser us, and not harm us.” It never says He will reveal everything!
What is Religion Anyway?
Another important thing to understand about remaining loyal to God is that it is different from religion. Religion is an organized system of belief that tells you what to do and why.
It includes certain rituals and codes of conduct meant to assist its adherents in connecting with something “higher.” This is not to give credence to any other Deity except the Lord God of the Holy Bible, of course.
Commitment (faith), on the other hand, is the belief in something for which there is no proof or evidence.
This might sound a little vague at first, however, there are important things to remember when you’re trying to understand what faith is.
Although I am a Church Pastor, I am no religionist! Sure, we have certain practices and rituals which are part of being followers of Jesus Christ. However, even without such rituals, we would still be followers of Jesus Christ.
This is critical because religions are dependent upon outward rituals and practices.
Being a follower of the God of the Holy Bible is totally dependent upon relationship.
Here is an example to make the point a bit more clear.
Each first Sunday, I lead our congregation in what is known as: “holy communion.” This is not to be confused with the religious practice of Roman Catholics. That has nothing to do with what Jesus taught his disciples and that upper room almost 2000 years ago.
Nevertheless, the Bible says about communion (1st Corinthians 11:23-26):
Here’s what you will find fascinating: whether I take communion or not, I’m still a follower of Jesus.
In staying with our religious Roman Catholic example, they believe if you do not take communion, or are forbidden from doing so, you are not a follower of Jesus.
Sure, in another text Jesus said: “do this in remembrance of me.”
Yet we must remember that: “it is by grace through faith that we are saved. It is a free gift of God and not of works lest any of us can brag about.” More simply: you can take communion and not be a follower of Jesus in spirit, or not take communion and be a follower.
I can hear the weeping and gnashing of teeth of good Christians who get their “Jesus cookie” and believe that salvation depends on!
Let’s use an extreme example of this reality. If someone is on their deathbed, and can no longer eat or drink, yet accepts Jesus as their Savior, they are still a follower of Jesus Christ!
Of course, this begs the question for those of us who can receive it and don't, why refuse?
However, it is our fidelity to Jesus, and faithfulness to His cause, not rituals, which allow us eternal life. Not some dead religious work(s) like Catholic last rights.
If you’re looking for ways to better understand and appreciate your own faith, it’s important to remember that commitment on this level is a choice.
It is different from religion, but it is eternally more important.
Real fidelity should only be placed in Jesus Christ. He is the only way to God. Any other system should be thought of as false and deceptive.
Faith is a particularly important part of your life, and you should explore and understand it better.
Header Image Courtesy of Ben White @ Unsplash