On this day, 236 years ago, Thomas Jefferson and his fellow patriots proved that the pen truly is mightier than the sword with the drafting of the Declaration of Independence. This document – a shot heard around the world – set forth the grievances against, and terms of separation from, the British Crown. The result of this historic document was a revolutionary war that birthed a nation ostensibly dedicated to the ideals of liberty and justice for all.
Now, let’s rewind the historical tape – so to speak – about 6000 years earlier. In the early days of mankind, in the paradise known as the Garden of Eden, mankind rebelled against the King of Glory (Genesis 3) by partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Mankind, lured by satan, essentially declared independence from the God who created them. The net effect of this is man lost his direct fellowship with God that forced man to become dependent upon his own senses and created a domino effect of sin, sickness, and death that persisted for 2000 years.
Juxtaposing these two events, we find that one rebellion was against a government that was unjustly levying taxes and imposing unreasonable requests against its wealthiest and most informed colony; the other rebellion was a hard-headed regent whose rebellion against his King – who, by the way, is just and loving by His very nature – was born of misinformation.
The Framers of the Constitution sought empowerment through, among other things, representative democracy and the right to vote. This concept, however noble in the earth, has tainted mankind’s understanding of government. Although it was begun with good intentions, it has led to selfishness – thinly veiled as “enlightened self interest.” And, as America has become the governmental ideal of the world, this selfishness has been exported – as a commodity, almost – to the rest of the world. Because of this, America has become despised by nearly as many as it is loved.
The Kingdom of God, on the other hand, is different. Its citizens do not have the voting franchise. Indeed, all the voting that is to be done has been done by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and these three agree:
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (1 John 5:7)
In order to understand the power of America, you must understand the government of America. Similarly, to understand the power of God we must understand the Kingdom of God. God is, first and formost, a King; and kings are concerned with their kingdoms. Because if the kingdom isn’t intact, the king cannot adequately bless his subjects. Likewise, God sent Jesus to restore the Kingdom:
For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10)
Notice that He did not say, “who,” “whom,” or “they.” No, He used the pronoun “that;” the “that” is the Kingdom of God!
Jesus also pointed out that it was God’s will to give the Kingdom to mankind:
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. (Luke 12:32)
First of all, we must make the Kingdom our first priority. Jesus made this abundantly clear in Matthew 6:33:
But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
We should not make life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness the focus of our lives! Rather, we must make the Kingdom our priority because it is His priority!
Next, we must recognize the seat of power of the Kingdom of God is in heaven. This is why, when Jesus gave us the model prayer, he told us to address the Father at His proper location and to reverence His name, as befitting a King:
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (Matthew 6:9)
When we are born again, we become naturalized citizens, even ambassadors of a new nation (2 Corinthians 5:20). We are in the world but not of the world (John 17:16) and are not to be shaped by the world’s system (Romans 12:2).
One of the great problems with Christians in America is that we see things through the lens of our democratized ideal. We ignore the plight of the weak and disenfranchised behind the aforementioned veil of “enlightened self interest” and believe that our opinions have weight. Well, in the kingdom, the only time your opinion matters is when you line up your opinion with God’s to receive Jesus as Lord and savior!
The devil would have us believe that life in Christ is bondage – that you lose your “freedom” to do as you please. However, there is more freedom in Jesus than there is anywhere in the world’s system. Jesus put it thusly:
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (John 8:36)
Freedom to do as you please is an illusion unto death (James 1:15). When we are separated from God, we are like a severed finger – we only know how to die. However, when we are engrafted into Jesus – the True Vine – we are yielded to His will and infused with His Life, even to the point that we can ask and expect to receive anything in His name (John 15:1-7)!
Over a year before the Declaration of Independence was signed, the great American patriot, Thomas Henry spoke these words before the Virginia Convention:
“…Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
True liberty is only found in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Likewise wherever there is the tyranny of sin or vain religion, the Spirit of the Lord is absent:
Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Corinthians 1:20)
Indeed, Jesus preached the same when he quoted the Prophet Isaiah:
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19)
As we celebrate this secular holiday, let us remember that true life is in Christ and that liberty is only found in the Spirit of the Lord. Let us also remember that our victory is not in our independence from Great Britain but in our dependence upon the living God!
God Bless You…and God Bless America!
© 2012 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)