This week we will get to celebrate one of the iconic American holidays. It is so unusual that we have given it two names: 4th of July or Independence Day.
Of course the concept of celebrating this holiday is really messed up this year. In years past, hordes of people would gather at the lake or the fireworks show or the concert or community festival and have an incredible time. But this year will be different. Social distancing and masks will keep us isolated in the crowd or we will choose to isolate ourselves in the safety of our own homes. Either way this 4th of July is going to be unlike any other that we have celebrated in recent memory.
This whole notion of an Independence Day is so very American. The history of our nation was set in motion by a Declaration of Independence. We love our independence. We think we have earned our independence. We deserve our independence. We are more than convinced that our independence is our right.
And in many ways that is correct. Our Constitution and our Bill of Rights not only celebrate our independence but also protect it.
Countless men and women have fought for and died for this independence that we have. We must never forget their sacrifice. We must never forget the price that they paid and many others are paying even today. We must never forget the incredible value of our independence.
But we must also never forget that independence is not always a good thing. When we declare our independence from a God who died for us, we set ourselves up not only for failure but for a wreck. When we decide that we are independent of a God who not only loves us but knows what is best for us we are in trouble. When we step away in defiance from a God who alone gives life, abundance, and eternity we will find ourselves quickly bankrupt.
So as we celebrate our independence this 4th of July, may we also find time to renew our commitment to God, to strengthen our total reliance upon Him, and to declare that our life, breath, and freedom are the result of our dependence upon Him. May we be forever faithful to trust Him with it all.
In other words, in the midst of celebrating our country’s independence we might be the most dependent people around.
Dr. Joe Ligon