The task of nation-building is the collective responsibility of both the government and the governed. In the development of any successful nation, whether in developed or developing countries, growth, and stability are enhanced through the collective participation of the citizens. The task of nation-building should be the priority of the leaders and the followers. After our love for God, love for our country should be our priority as disciples because we are citizens of a nation first before we become citizens of heaven. Today’s discussion revolves around love for our country and practical ways we can express our love for her.

Nation builders are citizens of the nation who take the initiative to develop the national community through good governance. They can also make use of the private sector to develop the nation. Building a nation must be the concerted efforts of all citizens, as evidence of loyalty to the nation. Nation builders are accountable to God who commands us to love our nation and seek her well-being (Psalm122:6).

They view their citizenship as a responsibility and not just as an entitlement. Such people contribute their quota to the development and growth of the country. They are aware that they do not have another country they can call theirs and as such, they do everything within their capacity to make their country conducive for people to live.

Leaders who are nation-builders formulate policies that entrench hard work, patriotism, unity, peace, justice, and equity for both the government and the governed. As followers, we can also build our nation by doing the following:

1. Being a Loyal to the Nation

Loyalty is a virtue. It is the quality of being faithful or devoted to someone, a cause, or a nation. To actively exhibit our love for the nation, we must be loyal citizens and must also be a part of her political process by socializing and contributing our quota to her development. As a disciple of Christ, we must be committed to serving our nation wholeheartedly and continually seek for the growth, development, progress, and peace of the nation. Disciples must live in harmony and peace with other citizens be sympathetic to their collective and individual needs, and also promote love by creating harmonious relationships within our surroundings. It is God’s expectation for His children to stand out amidst the decay in the nation. The fact that the government is not fulfilling its part of the responsibility should not make citizens lawless because two wrongs cannot make a right. What our disposition should be as Christ’s disciples are to be good citizens, and make a difference in the world by being good representatives of our Master, Jesus Christ. Even when the government fails to meet our needs as citizens, we should not forget that we have no excuse for not fulfilling our part to ensure the growth and development of our nation.

2. Submitting to Government Authority

Paul emphasized submission to a higher authority, which is guided by certain laws and regulations because any government in power is ordained by God (Romans 13:1). It is part of God’s plan to delegate authority to people to make laws and regulations that guide the conduct of people within the community.

A society that has no rules and regulations will become chaotic. Where there is no government authority, there will be a breakdown of law and order. Christians must, however, allow the Spirit of God to guide them, particularly when any law stands against God’s standard. For instance, the call for the legalization of homosexuality, abortion, and so on, is fast gaining ground in the modern world. Christ’sdisciples should refute laws that allow ungodliness to thrive.

3. Paying Tax

Payment of tax is one of the duties of a good nationbuilder. Tax is one of the revenues the government uses to carry outare functions/duties. It is the responsibility of citizens in the country to pay taxes faithfully. Citizens stand to enjoy the dividend of democracy and good governance when tax is paid as and when due. Jesus commanded in the Scripture to render unto “Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.”He left us an example by paying tax for Himself and His disciples (Mark 12:13-17; Matthew 17:24- 27). Therefore, one of the ways to show love for your country is by paying taxes,

4. Being an Advocate for Peace

Christians are the representatives of Jesus on earth(2 Corinthians 5:20), so we must be role models of peace. Our lifestyle should reflect Christ who is an embodiment of peace. We must seek peace with everyone and foster peace where there is a crisis. Wherever we find ourselves, in the office, school, institution, marketplaces, and at all levels of government, the nature of Christ must reflect in us such that others can emulate our peaceful lifestyle.

5. Praying for our Leaders

There is a need to pray for people in authority. Paul admonished us to pray for our leaders so that we can enjoy good governance (1 Timothy 2:1-3). Followers must accept that no authority comes to power without the knowledge of God. So whether they govern well or not, we must not stop praying for them, as God’s disciples. The heart of kings belongs to God and He directs it as He pleases (Proverbs 21:1). When we continue to pray for those in leadership positions, God will turn things around for our good.

6. Participating in the Political Process

Every citizen has a part to play in the political process of the nation. Some would be actively involved while others may participate passively. Citizens who are unconcerned about the political terrain of their country are not doing well. The process of electioneering should involve all citizens from ages 18 upwards. While every citizen cannot take up political positions, every adult should participate in voting during elections. It is part of our fundamental human rights. Christians are highly encouraged to participate in the electoral process if we are committed to building a nation and enjoying the dividend of democracy.

7. Exhibiting Godly Character

There are certain qualities, which are expected of disciples who are nation-builders. These qualities are listed in Galatians 5:22.The country is what it is today because many disciples are not exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit.

8. Being a Good Citizen

Many qualities make people good citizens of their country. As social beings, every citizen should respect the fundamental rights of others. Good citizens should be considerate of others. Good citizens value hard work, truthfulness, and teamwork. Willingness to obey the rules and regulations guiding society is also an attribute of a good citizen. As such, people who belong to a community will not be coerced to obey the law of the land. Another way to be a good citizen is to help other citizens. There are people in the society who are less privileged and vulnerable. Such people should not be ignored. When we cultivate the habit of helping one another in society, our country will be a better place to live in. Participating in community activities is also an attribute of good citizens. The development of the nation should be the joint effort of every citizen so that our society can develop fast.

Conclusion

Before Nigeria can arise to the standard we desire, there is no doubt that we must first love our nation. Nigeria is ours and we must ensure that we make it great. Taking Nigeria to an enviable height is both the responsibility of her leaders and followers. Every citizen should obey the rules and regulations guiding citizens in the country. We can also demonstrate our love for our nation by reciting the national anthem, and national pledge and showing respect for other national symbols. Resources at the disposal of government officers should be distributed fairly. People in authority should not take advantage of the masses to amass wealth. The resources of the nation should be used to develop every sector such that no part of the nation is sidelined. Exemplary citizens should be awarded while saboteurs should face the penalty of the law. As nation builders, Christ’s disciples must be deliberate at expressing the fruits of the Spirit everywhere they find themselves. Why is there still so much corruption in government parastatals when we have Christians working there?

Prayer: Pray for grace to remain a good citizen everywhere you find yourself.