By Irene C. Taylor
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America ... One nation under God with liberty and justice for all." Notice that the pledge says under God, not from God.
Most Americans are familiar with our nation's Pledge of Allegiance. When the chips are down those who really mean that pledge stand ready to defend America's honor. Romans 13 places upon us the need to be in subjection to the powers that be for they are God-ordained. Only when those powers conflict with his divine laws are we released from that obligation.
When Christians make a "pledge" to God, we need to be very serious in our declaration of allegiance to him. When we declare that we believe "Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God" and make the decision to give our life to his cause, we should stand ready to do just that-give our life to him. When his name is desecrated and his cause berated we, as true soldiers of God, should be ready to defend his honor.
God is a jealous God (Ex. 20:5). He will not accept second place in the life of his followers. Just as a soldier cannot loyally fight in the army of two opposing countries, so can the soldier of Christ not loyally battle in God's army and the army of the world (Matt. 6:24). Matthew 6:33 is not a mere statement. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." This is as much a command as the command to be baptized. You is the understood subject making it personal to each of us. First means first with nothing before. When we allow our allegiance to be divided the Lord is no longer first. In truth, He is then no longer our Lord!
The God of heaven will not accept divided love. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15). Which one of us wives would feel our husband was loyal and faithful to us if he divided his affections between another woman and us? The church is the bride of Christ (2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:3132; Rev. 19:710). As his betrothed we are to keep ourselves to him only.
The art of allegiance is learned at home in early childhood. It is one of the many vital, fundamental lessons that mother (parents) should instill at a young age. Our allegiance to God must be such that He can have confidence in us. We must be able to pass that allegiance on to our children. Mother is in the unique position of being able to exert great influence on her children. Toward what are we influencing them? Many biblical characters exemplify such allegiance. Of Abraham God could say:
For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment (Gen. 18:19).
God's people often have difficulty in extending allegiance to the proper person. We must remember that God must be first-before family, friends or pleasure. And, Mother, you can do much to instill in the heart of your children the proper order of priority. To whom are we giving allegiance when we miss a worship service to entertain family or friends? Do we choose to offend God rather than family or friends? Do we really believe God will accept being placed in second place? To whom are we giving allegiance when we miss service to God to attend a pleasurable event (even if it is our child's ball game or school activity)? What has been given first place and what are we teaching our child as being more important?
The story is told of the daughter who called home requesting that mother miss worship service since she, the daughter, was coming for a visit. To her chagrin she arrived only to find her parents gone. Upon their return she reminded them of her call and her request. She was wisely informed that they had attended worship because "the Lord called first."