This past week our nation celebrated its 236th birthday. When most people think of the 4th of July today they do not truly consider all that was accomplished 236 years ago. Instead, they typically think of parades, hot weather, fireworks, and grilling, and sadly for some drinking parties. I find it hard to imagine that men like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Paul Revere, or Patrick Henry has drinking parties and backyard BBQís in mind when they told Britain that enough was enough. What I find particularly interesting about these men was not the fact they no longer wanted taxation without proper representation, or a country of their own or even their willingness to put their lives on the line to fight for their freedom (although technically Thomas Jefferson was a statesmen not a soldier). I have always found their reliance upon Godís word as the reason why they chose to cast off the shackles of British oppression and have their freedom. Listen to the words of our nationís first freedom fighters.
Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company: I mean hell. - John Adams
In the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior. The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity. John Quincy Adams
A watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest, while we are building ideal monuments of renown and bliss here, we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven. James Madison
While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian. George Washington
These were not sermons that these men preached. They were addresses to the nation, letters that were written to friends, people seeking advice, etc. It seems that their everyday language was guided by Godís word. Now, while I understand that many (if not all of these men) did not have a full understanding of Godís word it does not change the fact that sounded a lot more like God fearing men than many Christians who proclaim to know the truth sound. Compare these freedom fighters to modern day politicians and you have a really stark contrast. In fact, if you were to go back and read every inauguration speech given by the presidents of this fine country you would see that scripture is quoted abundantly by George Washington and is used less and less frequently until you get to our current president who quoted no scriptures in his speech. While this is not meant to be a political article, I do not you to see that changes that have been made in our country across the board. The time that scripture and religious thought permeated through a manís daily speech is gone. This is not Godís fault, or timeís fault. It is manís. We have chosen to not let Godís word have such a great influence upon us. Instead, today people are found quoting super bowl commercials, their favorite TV shows, or the big blockbuster movie of the year.
Perhaps even more alarming is our language among our fellow Christians. While there is nothing wrong with talking about your favorite sports teams, driver, or the big fight coming up or talking about oneís health, what they accomplished this week, or a personís favorite movie or TV program, but there is something wrong when that is all Christians can talk about when they do gather together.
Be honest with yourself, when is the last time you had a brother or sister in Christ over to your home and the bible is what you talked about all night? When is the last time you were searching for an anecdote and an example from the bible came to mind? When is the last time you were giving advice to someone and a story about Jesus, David, or one of the judges provided the perfect example of what to do (or not to do)?
Why do you suppose that these men always had Godís word on their minds? It is what they read. Thomas Jefferson, while not a Christian in the true since of the word, made efforts to study the Gospelís so much that he actually created his own Gospel which was a harmonization between the 4 Gospel accounts. While I realize that we cannot all be Thomas Jeffersonís, that does not mean that Godís word cannot be something that we diligently study until the point that it permeates every facet of who we are.
I encourage you to do so, so that you can learn to be a freedom fighter too. Not a patriot for this earthly kingdom, but for Godís kingdomÖ taking freedom from sin and death unto every man. -WTK
Grinnell church of Christ
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Volume 3 Issue 32 July 8, 2012