And. Such a short word, of but three letters. One of the most used words in the English language. Depending on how it is measured, it is the third most used word. It is a word of association, linking similar subjects. According to Webster’s , two definitions of “and” are:
—used as a function word to indicate connection or addition especially of items within the same class or type
—used to join sentence elements of the same grammatical rank or function
Just so you don’t think you are back in 4th grade language class, there is a purpose for this deep dive into such a common word. The issue comes when the word “and” associates two topics that, to me, should not be linked. A common phrase that I have heard, and that has been repeated for generations, is “God and country”. The origination of the phrase has a militaristic history in the United States. However, the phrase is attributed to the Latin “Pro Deo et patria”.
While the phrase has a long history, I am seeing and hearing it more and more. There are songs, t-shirts, book titles, and so much more that relates God and country. It is said without even a moment of thought as to exactly what is being said. And when it is said, it evokes a sense of patriotism or pride in a majority of people. I would like to challenge this feeling.
As defined above, the phrase “God and country” places the two topics in the same class or rank. Yet the vast difference between my God and my country is enormous. The glory of the USA is not even on the same playing field as the Glory of God, not even on the same planet as far as I am concerned. Any country, even a country said to be founded on God, is a kingdom of this world and can never be equal to the Kingdom of God. God cannot be compared to anything, much less a country. Period. Nothing can achieve the same supremacy of God. “God and anything” minimizes the very God of all Creation. God is infallible. Country is fallible. While it may seem good to promote God and country, this degradation of God is doing actually more harm to the spread of the gospel. People see the fallacy of country. When Christians place God and country in the same field, or even in the same sentence linked with “and”, it minimizes the supremacy of God by bringing Him down to the level of country. They are not of the same class or rank by any stretch of the imagination.
If you aren’t convinced, it may be worth exploring this idea further. Can you realistically name any similarities between God and country? Consider the verses of Psalms 113:4-6 that says, “The Lord is exalted over all nations, his glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?” It seems laughable that the phrase “God and country” could ever be uttered with a straight face when truly considering the Glory of God. I have found that my faith is increased when I stop and see the Glory of God. Just take a minute and try to get a glimpse of Him and all His Glory. He is worthy of all His creation. He put the universe in motion. He breathed the breath of life in each of us and we are created in His image! Imagine that! No country can claim that. No country is created in the image of God.
We are not made in the image of an American, we are made in His image. Enjoy your town, your neighbors, even the country where you live. But as Christians, let us focus our devotion to Christ alone. From what I have read in His Word, He is not willing to share my focus. James 4:4-5 says, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?”