On July 4, 1776, hereto referred as Independence Day, the Continental Congress drafted and delivered our Declaration of Independence which declared that the thirteen American colonies would be no longer subjects of, or subordinate to, the sovereign ruler of Britain, King George III, and that they were now a free, independent, united states.
Although there were many complaints against the treatment received from Britain, one item of significance to them was to come out from under a mandated form of state religion imposed upon them as British colonies.
In a sense, they declared their independence so that they might enjoy their self-imposed dependence upon the Almighty God.
As we are on the eve of America’s greatest celebration day, Independence Day, July 4th, it would be good to realize that we are more celebrating what we once were than what we now are. We have either lost, or left, a lot of what we were.
America, you are more than you have become in recent days! I say this because I have a deep, profound love for America! This is my Home . . . my Family! Let’s have a Family re-union, a re-uniting, and a coming back together in love . . . love for country . . . love for one another. Let’s recognize that we are being duped, confused, divided, and even held hostage in some ways in these many months.
Let us show the world, we are better than the best reputation we have ever enjoyed! America, bless God, so God may bless America, again! I love you! I pray for you!
Now, I want to share a word to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ here in the land that I love. We have enjoyed a freedom to worship our Creator in America which we have grown to take for granted in far too many ways. Not many nations of the world have had this freedom to worship openly without fear. We might should be ashamed of our often take-it or leave-it attitude toward gathering to worship God and encourage one another. Many gave their lives so we might enjoy these experiences.
However, I feel I must take a higher step than simply national pride. We are beginning to experience even a division within the Church of our LORD Jesus Christ. And I am not just referring to a hint of racial differences that might prevail. We are seeing and experiencing some political separateness that is affecting our corporate unity. Worse yet, there is a softening on biblical morals which must be eliminated from the Christian life, no matter what denomination it may be. Jesus prayed in John 17:21, “That they may all be one.” Beloved, we must align with Jesus and His Word for this to become a reality. As long as we insist on our ideals and opinions about God’s Word, we will miss that mark.
Furthermore, a higher yet step: It has become the norm of late where everyone is offended by many things, and they speak out boldly against their perceived offences. Political Correctness (PC) had started this trend several years ago. But this trend has crept into the House of God, where it has no right to be. A true believer cannot be offended because self has been crucified with Christ. When we have died to self, we no longer place ourselves of higher importance than others; especially those in the faith.
I see daily, in the social media, where Christians are grumbling and complaining that many people, even those claiming to be Christian, are attacking and arguing against their opinions and positions on life. It is as though they expect to always be treated and spoken well of in this fallen world. I want to share the Apostle Paul’s perspective, and admonition found in Philippians 3:7-14:
7 “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already attained or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Paul exhorts all true believers to follow his example in verse 17 (not shown here), after he has set the course for his life and purpose in the proceeding testimony to us in the verses above.
He begins in verse 7 to conclude that everything; achievements, possessions, and even birthright, in his life are a loss and counted as rubbish in order that he might gain the knowledge of Christ Jesus. Even greater, that he might take on Christ, all of Him, within himself; his own experience and nature.
“Not having my own righteousness,” because I have died to self. He is saying that he wants all of himself out of the way of living the good and faithful life which follows Christ in every point.
“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection,” Paul desires to know by intellect and experience the LORD Jesus Christ. One might argue that by this point in his life, Paul surely knew Jesus as well as He can be known; Paul says, “No! I want more! I must know Him greater and experience the depths of His power which raised Him from the dead!” Beloved, that power was the same power that called all things into being with the Word at Creation! How many true believers really have the same desires?
But listen to what he says in addition to knowledge and power: “and the fellowship of His sufferings.”
What do you mean, Paul? Fellowship is the bond of friends sharing similar interests or problems. To suffer is to feel pain or distress. Paul yearned for, wanted very much, to share the pain and distress that Christ experienced.
Beloved, can you, will you, as Paul stated in verse 17, “join in following my example”? To do so is to die to self and to graciously accept the suffering for/with Christ that may come because of your stand with Him. That means no grumbling, whining, and complaining when someone verbally attacks your position in Christ Jesus our LORD.
Dear believer, have you declared your independence to be dependent upon your LORD and Master, Jesus Christ? Then, my friend, have a blessed Independence Day! Be safe! Pray On!