Because of these things, many American Christians have adopted a love of "God and country." We see this in much of evangelicalism today. We all agree that we should love God. However, should we love our country? For us Americans, should we love the USA?
Another way of putting it is this, "Would Jesus have me love my country?"
As we try to answer this question, we need to carefully define what we mean by the word "country." We could be talking about all the people who reside in the USA. We could be talking strictly about citizens of the USA regardless of where they live. We could also be talking about the nation state with its constitution, laws, military, flag, etc.
Let's look at a few verses to inform our thinking:
Matthew 22:34-40, "But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?' And he said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.'"
Jesus made it clear that we are to consider all people to be our neighbors. Therefore, as followers of Christ we should love our country if that refers to all people living in the USA. Of course, we should also love all people living outside the USA as well.
Another verse to consider: Philippians 3:20, "But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ."
As Christians our true citizenship is in heaven with God. This must logically mean that our true citizenship is not based on any man-made ideas, constructs, entities, or borders.
In light of this, it would be an absurd idea to say we should only love American citizens.
But what about the nation state that we refer to as the United States of America? Would Jesus have us love it?
Before I give my answer, I do want to say that I'm thankful to God for the freedoms that we have in the USA. God in his sovereignty has caused me to live here and I'm grateful for it.
Thankfulness, however, does not equal love.
As I search the scriptures I find absolutely no evidence that Jesus would have us love our nation-state. None. Zip. Zero. Christ calls on his followers to love God and neighbor. He never calls us to love any political state of any kind.
Should we obey the laws of the land? Certainly - as long as they don't conflict with God's expectations. Should we try to overthrow the government? By no means. Jesus never expected his followers to be political revolutionaries. Should we get involved in the governmental process such as voting? I think this is an area of Christian freedom.
But as far as love of nation state goes, we make a mistake if we think there is any biblical support for this. It just doesn't exist. I don't think Jesus would have me love my nation state.
I do, on the other hand, think Jesus would have me love my country if by that we mean all the people who live here. Our Lord calls us to lives of service to all people.
The answer all depends on how you define "country."