On July 4th, people across the U.S. will celebrate Independence Day, commemorating events in 1776 when the Second Continental Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence, declaring the colonies to be free from British rule and marking the birth of the United States as an independent nation. The second sentence of the Declaration is most compelling and most well-known:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The fight for independence required a complete and uncompromising commitment, as its final sentence affirms:

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Two hundred and forty-eight years later, I wonder what the signers would say about the nation we have become. Technically we are still a free nation, but it is impossible to say we are a nation with a “firm reliance on the protection of divine providence.” Some still insist that all are created equal, but now the government legislates programs to compel diversity, equity, and inclusion, implying that we are not. The nation clearly began with some sense of dependence on the Creator, but the pursuit of happiness today is often an overt expression of independence from God and His moral law.

July 4th would be a great day for us to pray for our nation, for our leaders, and for our communities. Beseech God for repentance and revival. While Independence Day celebrates the freedom from governmental tyranny, we should remember that independence from the Creator always leads to bondage. When a nation refuses to acknowledge God and give Him thanks it becomes a foolish nation, a laughingstock, given over to its own unholy impulses and debased thinking. Its people suffer in anxiety and isolation under the weight of violence, corruption, greed, immorality, deceit, and hubris.

There is only one remedy until Jesus comes: the hope of the gospel for every person – one person at a time. Christ is the true liberator. Jesus said to those who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31, 32.

Paul told believers in the first century, “You were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Galatians 5:13, 14.

How shall we live freely this Independence Day? Be very dependent upon Christ. Yield to His rule in your life. Pray His truth will set the captives free – all who are held by the snares of the enemy. Love your neighbor. Share the gospel. Be FORMED into the likeness of the One who set you free. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore!

With you on the journey.