… It comes with responsibility.
I begin by re-sharing something I wrote 8 years ago…
On July 4, 1776, our nation’s founders declared their independence from the tyrannical rule of England’s king. They declared independence from the overbearing, overtaxing, and downright oppressive nature of that king. But to be truly independent of one form of government, these pioneers had to come up with a way to govern themselves. They believed free people should not be reliant upon any government for their needs. They knew from experience that a people who were dependent upon government were slaves to it, and would never be free.
In forming this new nation, these founders carefully designed a system of government that would be “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” They never intended to allow tyranny and oppression to overtake them again. But how can a people hope to sustain independence? Did they become totally self-reliant? The freedom they hoped to preserve could only happen by recognizing where their strength came from…the Creator of all things.
This is how independence was achieved. In order to break the bonds of dependence upon a tyrant, they instead put their trust in the One who is incorruptible. Acknowledging their dependence upon God, they declared independence from Great Britain. And the country they formed, that “more perfect Union,” still stands today. There are those, however, who are chipping away at its foundations by attempting to turn people’s reliance away from God and back onto government.
When you celebrate Independence Day, is it just another holiday? Just a gathering of friends or family for a cookout? Just a chance to shoot some fireworks? Or do you stop and realize what July 4th is all about? By all means, celebrate! Gather with friends and family. Shoot some fireworks. Have fun. But remember why we have these awesome freedoms, and hold tightly to those freedoms. Don’t accept any effort to make you more dependent on government, but instead keep your faith in God alone.
Depend on God, not government. And may He continue to bless America…and you.
I wrote the above words on July 3, 2011, and I still believe them.
Our Guiding Perspective
Furthermore, I believe we need to view the actions of our government and its leaders through a very specific lens. Does what they do benefit “we the people,” or does it benefit them? Does it protect our rights and liberties, or does it shrink those rights in favor of granting more power over our lives to the government?
I don’t care if they’re on the right, left, or in the center, we must closely examine the impact of their policies and determine what their real agenda is. As Americans who want to remain free, we owe it to the sacrifices of those before us AND the generations ahead to remain vigilant. We have to scrutinize the actions of our leaders to make sure that they aren’t simply attempting to gain more power for themselves at the expense of our freedoms.
The Wisdom of Our Forefathers
Our founding fathers knew this to be true. That is why they recognized individuals’ rights within the constitution as off-limits to the government. The Bill of Rights, they called it, comprised the first several amendments. Each of these amendments recognizes rights of citizens that “shall not be infringed.” This means no law should be passed that takes away or limits those rights.
One of today’s hot topics is gun control. People cite mass-shootings as reasoning for imposing more restrictions on gun ownership. But law-abiding gun owners aren’t the problem – law-breaking criminals are. What good are more laws that will simply go unheeded? The 2nd amendment protects the individual’s right to “keep and bear arms,” but lawmakers have continued to attempt more and more restrictions which infringe upon that right.
Some claim that amendment is outdated, or that it somehow applies to hunting. Both assertions are incorrect. The founders had experienced tyranny firsthand. They knew that an armed population would never allow an oppressive government to rule over them, and THAT’S exactly what they had in mind when they vowed to honor each citizen’s right to the protect themselves from tyranny with firearms.
With Freedom Comes Responsibility
Every right we have has a corresponding responsibility attached to it. Along with our freedom of speech, we have a responsibility to speak truth rather than lies. With our right to bear firearms comes the inherent responsibility to not misuse them for purposes like committing murder or other crimes. Each freedom carries a responsibility to not abuse our right, but to instead DO what is right.
As believers, this sense of right and wrong comes directly from the Word of God. And yes, faith and freedom go hand in hand. As American citizens, we believe strongly that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. Among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Sound familiar?
Attacks on Our Fundamentals
I’ve already blogged about the efforts to devalue human life (see my Truth about Abortion blog), but that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Lately, we’ve begun to see an attack upon the concept of “citizenship” itself. Countless immigrants came into this country via proper channels, observed our laws, and went through the process of becoming American citizens. But now, there are those who foolishly say, “open the borders and let everyone in!”
Many in DC claim these illegal aliens should have rights to “free” health care, even though hardworking citizens are paying for it. They make a mockery of citizenship, and they ignore the fact that this is grossly unfair to immigrants who came here legally – not to mention the fact that this continued influx of undocumented and completely unvetted people is unsustainable and endangers all of us by weakening our security. And maintaining our nation’s security is supposed to be a paramount function of government.
Ask yourself why such unwise practices are so widely advanced by some of our leaders. What could be their motivation? Go back to that “lens” through which I said we ought to view all their policies and actions. Do these things empower us and protect our liberty? Or do they weaken us and give more power to government? Think about it.
There have been sustained attempts for many years to fundamentally change America into something other than the freedom-loving and God-fearing country it has been since its birth. A shift in our priorities and morals has slowly occurred. With each deviation, our focus has become blurred and our attention pulled further and further away from the righteous and biblical foundations of this great nation.
As a means to that end, certain proponents of a revisionist history seek to deny this greatness, instead promoting an alternative view. You’ve probably heard the pompous politician who proclaimed the preposterous notion that “America was never that great.” Or perhaps you possibly heard another one of these people piously pose the question, “When was America great?” Put simply, my response goes like this:
Indeed, there are many who choose to point out our past mistakes rather than admit the reality that we’ve also learned from mistakes and sought to correct them. They not only keep reminding us of some of these shortcomings, but they also tend to exaggerate others, and even manufacture still more. Their goal – to destort the true view of American greatness and the fact that it has been due to the Godly principles ingrained within our founding documents.
A Dangerous World-View
Far too many people today hold a distorted view of what freedom means. They think it should be no strings, no holds barred, complete unrestrained exercise of their deepest desires. However, this can’t be universal. If everyone held this view, it would be chaos. So there HAVE to be SOME rules, and they tend to make them up as they go. I mean, they don’t want to go along with the BIBLICAL standards American law was actually BUILT upon.
So their rules end up being beneficial only to them. They can do whatever they want, and we can’t stop them or even speak out against them. They have free speech, but we do not because our ideas differ from theirs. We aren’t allowed to oppose or contradict them in any way.
They rail at us for trying to impose our views upon them (simply because we HAVE different views, not that we ever actually try to impose), while they are somehow free to force THEIR views and opinions on US. Freedom for them is doing what they please, no matter who it hurts in the process.
This does not lead to liberty at all, but rather, it leads to oppression and bondage. They who refuse to tolerate Christianity deem Christians as the “intolerant” ones. And they unwittingly place themselves in slavery to sin and decadence at the same time.
The Cost of Liberty
You see, there’s a price for freedom. Our liberty in Christ came at a great cost. Jesus paid that debt on the cross so we could be free from the chains of sin. Our freedom as Americans comes at a high price, as well. Yes, we owe a debt of gratitude to every soldier who fought, bled, and died for the cause of liberty. Every troop currently serving to protect our country today, every police officer who serves and protects their community, every fireman, every EMT or paramedic, and yes – every public servant or government official who truly cares about and represents their constituents deserves our respect and support.
But the cost of freedom continues. That cost goes far deeper than just thanking those who help preserve liberty. As partakers in that freedom ourselves, we also have a very important duty. The truth about freedom is that it comes at a price for ALL of us. What must we do? Steadfastly, we have to remain vigilant. Keep watch for the schemes of those who would destroy our freedom. Know the tricks of the enemy, and realize that this battle will ultimately be won from our knees in prayer.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
~Ephesians 6:12 NASB
In the battle for the heart and soul of America, it is a spiritual fight we face. Are you prepared?
Happy Independence Day!
Have a safe and blessed July 4th.