I’m focusing on celebrating the 4th of July with my family and friends today. We’re talking about the brave independence we declared long ago and also our need for dependence on the Lord now. Please enjoy my post from last year’s celebration!
I love my country and the people who serve and have served me…us…with their lives. I join today with others with thanks to God for our freedoms and our nation. We are blessed, but I can’t help thinking on each Fourth of July about how I feel a bit strange declaring our independence. Is it because I think perhaps that is what is wrong with us? More and more of us in this country and the culture of our country are declaring our independence from God. It characterizes us so much that it even characterizes Christians in this country. Many who claim to follow Christ but are, in reality, independent. Words of belief…without the action of following or a life showing a need of Him. Isn’t that the silliest thing? If we truly believe in the Jesus of the bible…we would have to cling to Him and follow His words as if I our life depended on Him.
Perhaps it is because only 9% of American adults hold to a biblical worldview (Barna, 2009). Why cling to Jesus if you don’t think you need Him?
While I do love my country and understand that the declaration of independence was not a declaration of independence from God, I can’t help but think on this day of how ultimately I am dependent still on a higher authority. That is the authority of Jesus Christ in my life.
The Declaration of Independence included a list of grievances against the king. I don’t have a list of grievances against my ultimate King…just a list of things I’m clinging to. Truths that I look to. The history of Christ the King is a history of repeated care and love, all having a direct influence on my life and the life of the church. “To prove this, let the facts be submitted to a candid world.”
He died on the cross for my sins. He payed the penalty for my sin. He lived a perfect life and that life is now credited to my life. I do not need to keep the law in order to be saved because He did it perfectly. I now strive to keep the law though, out of love and thankfulness to Him. He lives inside me now and counsels, guides and comforts me. He gives me freedom not to sin, while before salvation I was a slave to sin. He governs all and works everything according to His will, for the good of his church (His people) and His glory. He never sleeps or slumbers. He is the Word and the Word is His communication with me. His word is good for teaching, rebuking and training in righteousness. He gives me fruit of His Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.
My list could go on. It could and should be longer than the grievances against the king in the Declaration of Independence. I am running out of time though. This doesn’t take the place of our country’s declaration. I am thankful for our country’s declaration and the people who lived who were willing to die to stand up to a king who did not have their best interest in mind. I am always lead, though, on July 4, to remember that I am not TOTALLY independent. That, as a Christian, I am dependent on the King of the Universe, Jesus Christ. The King who does have our best interest in mind. Here is the most truly amazing thing that I wish I could grasp each and every moment. “God’s purpose for us was that we would become actual extensions of His life through a dependent love relationship with Him.” In Birthright: Christian Do You Know Who You Are? David Needham says the above and also points out that God gave us a flesh-and-blood example of how that kind of life would play out. Jesus Christ.
John 5:30-“I can do nothing on my own.” John 8:28, 40 – “I can do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me….you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God.” John 10:37-“If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me.” John 7:16-17-“My teaching is not mine but his who sent me. Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own.”
Not that Jesus ever ceased to be God. But there is a difference between possessing divine attributes and using them. In a mysterious way, Jesus, the Creator of the Universe, lived a life characterized as dependent on the Father.
So here is one last thing I’ll mention today that I love about my king. He too, lived a life of dependence and He shows me how to do this now. I no longer have to respond to all of life in the flesh/in fleshly ways. I can submit to the Holy Spirit living inside of me. I am part of this new creation of people freed to live like Christ…but also called a slave to righteousness.
To say no to fleshly responses including the fast thoughts and impulses and responses in each moment of my day is not easy. It takes awareness and humbleness and more strength than all the strength that is felt in an angry response. I’m still learning about this. And perhaps that is the Christian life. Learning, over time, how to submit to the Holy Spirit and that there is more strength in submitting than going with the flow. I am dependent on Him to live as He did. If I believe in Him and love Him, how can I not seek to submit to Him if He truly is my ultimate King?
Galations 2:20-“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. ”
Ephesians 3:16,17,19-“I pray that, according to the riches of His glory, He may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through His Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
US Flag, Photographer: Joshua Nathanson, Wikipedia Commons.
Girl at Jesus’ feet, Clinging to the Cross, Jesus praying, by unknown, Google Images
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