By Pastor Jason Georges
Immanuel Baptist Church
“In God we Trust” was adopted as our national motto during the Eisenhower administration in 1956. The phrase first appeared as a national motto in the fourth stanza of The Star Spangled Banner written by Francis Scott Key in 1814. Open your wallet and pull out a dollar bill or take a coin from your pocket and you will find you have been carrying this statement of confidence on your very person. “In God we Trust” is the national acknowledgement that the preservation of our American society and way of life requires the pleasure of Almighty God. It is the self-realization that our power, peace, and prosperity are blessings provided by God. The motto is a faithful reminder.
“In God we Trust” also informs a society to uphold the virtues that are defined by God. Virtue is a stationary target built upon the unchanging character of God. Virtue, unlike its always fluctuating anthesis Vice, remains faithfully clothed in immutable truths. A people are virtuous when in their behavior they exhibit the high moral character instructed by God in the Bible.
“And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” – Matthew 19:17-19 KJV
The founders recognized that the blessings of God upon our nation could only be enjoyed and preserved by a virtuous people.
“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.” – Benjamin Franklin
“The virtues of men are of more consequence to society than their abilities” – Noah Webster
“The propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.” – George Washington
These principles are not exclusive to nations but also apply to communities. Communities can practice and preserve virtue. This spring, Sheriff Brian BeGole refreshed the decal markings on the county’s patrol vehicles to include our national motto: “In God we Trust.” What a great example by those selected to preserve and protect” the citizens of our community to make a bold statement of confidence in God. In 2014 the Shiawassee County Commissioner Robert McLaren made a motion for the motto “In God We Trust” to be displayed in the Board of Commissioners chamber, the motion was unanimously passed making Shiawassee county the first in the State to do so. Recently, the 53rd annual Shiawassee County Prayer Breakfast was held and over one hundred community leaders in business, politics, and education gathered to declare: “In God we Trust.” Weekly, Pastors that faithfully preach the truths of Scripture exhort believers to live virtuous lives. Everyday, families in our community raise and train children to be virtuous contributors to society. Virtue is alive in Shiawassee county when we confidently live by our motto: “In God we Trust.”
“When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.” – Thomas Paine, Common Sense
Every generation must contend for virtue. This battle is waged against Virtue’s age old enemy Vice. Vice, personal moral corruption, unhindered by truth comes clothed in many costumes. Vice appears through drugs and alcohol by making moral men act immorally. Vice clothes itself in rainbow banners singing of a love that is foreign to virtue. Vice transports itself upon every digital device offering up soul harming content for the eye to see. Vice exploits the weak to be sold for the depraved enjoyment of others. Vice masquerades as rights while crushing the skulls of the innocent. Vice is a lie intended to rob communities of the blessings of virtue.
“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” – Genesis 6:5 KJV
The war is not new, but old. Men in the past have been wholly given to vice. The result was the removal of the promised blessings of virtue and replaced with the required hand of judgement. But even in the midst of vice, virtue can be found, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” (Genesis 6:8 KJV) The source of all virtue is found in the grace of God obtained through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus is virtue. A virtuous community is then the expression of Jesus Christ through His believers as they live His teachings. Community virtue thrives when “In God we Trust” becomes the personal declaration of faith in Jesus Christ.
(To learn more about what it means to trust Jesus read the centerfold article entitled “Can you DO enough to get to heaven? pg. 6)”