The Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence 245 years ago. When they announced to the world their separation from Great Britain, a new nation was formed — the United States of America.
One of Thomas Jefferson’s most quoted lines from the Declaration of Independence is "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." Our forefathers were declaring they not only deserved freedom but were willing to continue fighting for it.
As we observe our country’s political independence this weekend, there are five specific reasons we can celebrate.
1. We Have Freedom to Believe
Oppressed individuals from all over the world are still drawn to the United States because they have opportunity to follow their dreams. Many dream of a good job, food and shelter for their family. In addition to material security, many come here because they can live free from fear, free to believe and worship as they choose.
Our freedom of religion is a gift we often take for granted. We can celebrate because we can still worship our Creator freely and openly.
2. We Are Free to Live Out Our Faith
In some countries, the mention of serving God or His Son is cause for a death sentence. America’s forefathers recognized the Creator through their extension of certain God-given rights in the Declaration of Independence.
Our faith gives us a foundation and assurance God is in control of a world in chaos. When life seems out of control, we are free to seek the source of all creation — God. He provides peace that passes all understanding in the midst of life's storms.
3. We Are Free to Worship
Here in the United States of America we are allowed the choice to worship in any way we desire. God created us for fellowship. Our individual gifts are stronger when they are joined with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Sadly, statistics show worship attendance is in a decline as more people choose a life of independence that ultimately leads to a life of solitude.
We have the freedom to choose today to be in community with fellow believers. Are you looking for a faith community? Ask God to lead you to a church family where you can worship and serve.
4. We Have the Freedom to Pray
Americans, especially people who live here in the Northwest, are known for self-reliance. Just as this can be seen as a strength, it can also be a tremendous weakness when it leads us to put God on the sidelines of our life.
We can celebrate because we have the freedom to choose to pray in private and in public. When we submit our requests to God in prayer we make the choice to acknowledge Him and depend on Him.
5. We Are Free to Experience Happiness
One of the rights defined in the defined in the Declaration of Independence is "the pursuit of happiness." Gal. 5:22 says we can have real joy in our life as we walk in the Holy Spirit. We don't have to pursue happiness; rather, we can choose to live it out in the Spirit. This allows us to receive all God has planned for our lives.
As we celebrate 245 years of American freedom, there are many reasons to celebrate. Is American the paragon of perfection? Clearly this is not the case. We’ve all been through a difficult 18 months worth of pandemic pain and political posturing, and yet we can be thankful. We can truly celebrate the freedoms we have as Americans and, moreover, the freedom we have in Jesus.