Every year since 1776 the United States has celebrated our nation’s independence. On July 2 of that year, the Continental Congress voted to declare the thirteen colonies no longer subject and subordinate to the monarch of Britain. The colonies were to be united, free and independent states. Two days later, Congress officially declared independence through the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Read the following letter written by John Adams to his wife, Abigail, on July 3, 1776.
“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” (Source: Wikipedia)
Although off by two days, his prediction has proven true.
If you’re like me, you are proud to be an American. Proud of all those who fought, died, and stood up for the freedom we hold so dear in this great land, and those who continue to do so today. I love my country, and I cherish our independence from the rule of other nations.
But, we must be careful as Christians that we don’t place our love of country above our love of God. Ultimately God is the One who has given us our freedom. Not only as a nation, but personally. He’s given us spiritual freedom through the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. He calls us to walk in His Spirit and live free from guilt, shame, legalism, religion, and any man-made requirements our society may seek to impose on us.
Ironically, as much as we value independence, God’s Word instructs us to be interdependent. We’re not made to do this life alone. God created human beings for relationship––with Him and others. We are to depend on God and other people in our lives. Let me prove it to you.
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” Genesis 2:18
You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you. Exodus 34:14
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13
Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Philippians 2:2
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12
God’s plan for His children is not independence, but interdependence with Him and fellow brothers and sisters. Don’t be a loner.
And as you celebrate our nation’s independence this week, remember John Adams’ words… the remembrance of our independence ought to be commemorated by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.
In the midst of cookouts, swimming, corn hole, smores, fireworks and other activities you engage in to celebrate, at the center of it all, commemorate your independence through acts of devotion to God.
I have to add a side note… Clayton, one of the main characters in my novel, celebrates a birthday on July fourth.
Fun fact––Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. (Source: Wikipedia)
So, is independence good or bad? I say it’s both. We need to balance gratitude for our independence as a nation with our dependance upon God.
Join the conversation. I’ll be celebrating July 4th with my family in Tennessee. How do you celebrate the holiday? What is your favorite Fourth of July activity or memory? What suggestions can you offer to help us commemorate through acts of devotion to God?