I love the 4th of July. We are able to celebrate the independence of our country and come together to barbecue, watch baseball, eat some ice cream, spend time with friends and sing "America the Beautiful." Everywhere you go, people are proud to be American, and to show that pride, we fly flags and can't stop talking about how truly great our country is.
My greatest 4th of July memory is when my family and I vacationed to Washington D.C. and watched fireworks sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I'll never forget this moment which gave me such happiness and a sense of patriotism.
While our nation is so proud to show their red, white and blue, we are sometimes not as willing to show the colors of our faith. As Christians, it is our duty to be disciples and spread the word of God to the world. However, for some, this action tends to fall a little flat.
It's easy to get caught up in the wrongs and rights of what society expects from Christians. We tend to think that because we live in a country of religious freedom, we have to keep our relationship with Christ a personal thing. It's almost as if we think that because other religious preferences (or lack thereof) exist, we have to soften our enthusiasm about the Lord.
Being culturally sensitive and celebrating religious freedom in no way means you should stop talking about Jesus. In fact, our great nation and our military protect us to ensure that we have this religious freedom and so we can worship our God openly, like so many other nations can't. What's more patriotic than that?
There are many different instances in the Bible, where the Lord calls us to joy. He calls us to not only spread the word of God but to do so with excitement and pleasure.
- I will sing to the Lord for he has been good to me. Psalm 13:6
- Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
- You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
- David danced before the Lord with all his might. 2 Samuel 6:14a
So I suggest that this 4th of July, and every day for that matter, we not only celebrate America (and cheer on the U.S. women's soccer team), but we celebrate the Lord, because we can and because we should. The joy that you feel when you see fireworks should be the same joy you share with others about Christ because you take pride in your faith, and you don't want to hide it. Go ahead and take pride in our history as a nation and what our forefathers did to get us here. But most importantly, consider our one true Father, the love he has for us, and the joy that a relationship with him entails.
Olivia Williams, a journalism student from Baylor, is currently serving as a joint Communications Intern for both the Baptist Standard and the Texas Baptists.