Friday, July 4, 2008

A New Declaration of Independence

The United States Declaration of Independence was a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776 announcing that the thirteen American Colonies were no longer a part of the British Empire. It was at great cost that the Representatives attached their signatures.

In our day as you scan the channels on TV it appears that our country places our greatest value on comfort and financial independence. This is not true of 'everyone' yet many in our culture intentionally order their lives in a way that their lifestyle and financial condition is paramount above all else, therefore risking family and community in order to achieve financial independence. This is in contrast to our Founding Fathers who risked all to throw off a Ruler, or King, they considered a Tyrant.

In the Declaration the founders state:

"In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people."

How true! Yet many of us--and at times it appears our entire culture--have willingly submitted to the tyrant of materialism without a fight. Wherever you turn our culture leads us to sell all for the rewards of "wealth, prosperity and independence." Yet, like so many before us, we find we have sold out to a tyrant for something that does not truly exist: peace and happiness apart from a life in Christ.

Paul, in the New Testament, said he willingly made himself a slave for the sake of others unto Christ and in that found his calling and purpose. I guess we are all slaves to something. As we spend our days in our community and our family what are we telling them about who we have chosen to follow? Are we chasing the illusory goal of worldly wealth and prosperity even as we profess our commitment to Christ and His church? Or are we on a journey to Independence from the things and concerns that would keep us from following the One who denied Himself the riches of heaven in order to make us rich?

Perhaps we need a new Declaration of Independence for those who follow Jesus and labor under the burden of affluence? A restatement, or Declaration, that states that we will no longer follow "A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a
Tyrant..." and that we make it our Declaration to follow The Prince who sets men free to Life, Liberty and True Peace and Happiness. God is calling us to follow Him and He has Declared great blessing to those who follow. May it be said of us that we, in our generation, like our Fathers before us "with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence... [will] mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." This commitment means we are throwing off all that would hinder us from following Christ so that together we finish the race of life hearing from our Heavenly Master: "Well done good and faithful servant."

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