Independence to Live In Dependence
Happy 4th of July, Independence Day!
I’ve recently seen several video clips of Americans being asked about the origin of Independence Day:
From what country did we get our independence?
Who were some of the signers of the Declaration of Independence?
When did we get our independence?
Answers like “the South” and “Lincoln” and “1863?” grieve me! What used to be common knowledge and understanding for all Americans is clearly not now. The understanding of why America was founded has also been sidelined. Scripture says that “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)
The United States of America is the only nation that was founded by Christians who left their countries so that they could have freedom to worship God. They tell us clearly why they came in The Articles of Confederation of the United Colonies of New England written on May 19, 1643:
”Whereas we all came into these parts of America with one and the same end and aim, namely, to advance the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and to enjoy the liberties of the Gospel in purity with peace…”
After winning independence more than 130 years later, the collective mindset had not changed. Benjamin Franklin addressed the Constitutional Convention on June 28, 1787 with these beliefs:
“how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection. -- Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance.
I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth -- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that "except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall be become a reproach and a bye word down to future age. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human Wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.
I therefore beg leave to move -- that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service.
Because We have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by ... morality and Religion. Avarice, Ambition ...and ... Revenge or Galantry, would break the strongest Cords of our Constitution as a Whale goes through a Net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a National Day of Fasting by giving this warning:
“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
And here we are, 150 years later, seeing the consequences of pushing God out of every area of public life. The idea of independence has taken on the meaning of “protecting our rights” and “being freed from any restraints on our beliefs or behaviors.”
The United States of America’s Independence 300 years ago
was from tyranny that had no respect for individual freedom
to worship holy God.
The freedom that resulted from that independence
was used to live
In Dependence on holy God.
So how do Christians live In Dependence on God?
Jesus taught us in His Sermon on the Mount the difference between being righteous (right with God) and religious. He called for discernment between the truths of God’s Word and the lies of this world.
The human reasoning of this world would insist that we need to protect our rights and not let anyone push us around. The world looks at someone who is meek or gentle as being a wimp, to be stepped on by others.
And yet if we take off our American cultural glasses and look at the truths of God’s Word in context, we learn that Jesus declared that those who are meek and gentle are spiritually prosperous/blessed. Meekness and gentleness are changes that God brings in our hearts as we choose to trust Him to take care of us. As we learn to daily turn to God as our Provider and depend on Him to guide us through life’s ups and downs, we are meek and gentle; right in our relationship with God.
In reality, America’s Independence was won
so that we can live In Dependence
on holy God with freedom.
Holidays are perfect opportunities to celebrate the anchoring truths of our families. As we enjoy good food and fun times together, may we remember and explain the truths about our nation’s Independence that have allowed Christians to live In Dependence on God.
How will you celebrate the heritage of our Independence Day?
What resources add meaning to this day for you?
Father, thank You for guiding our forefathers to create this nation with the freedom to worship You and proclaim Your glory to the world.
Father, forgive us for taking these precious freedoms for granted.
Forgive us for turning our attention to ourselves instead of to You.
Forgive us for grieving You with our pursuit of pleasure and prosperity instead of seeking to know You more and share the Gospel with others.
LORD, we choose to place our hope and dependence on You.
May You direct our lives and may You be honored through them. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.
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