Did you know that the Founding Fathers of our country did not declare independence from British rule nor sign the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776? I didn’t!
On that date 241 years ago, the members of the Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to approve the final wording of the Declaration of Independence. The actual proclamation of our independence from Britain happened a few days earlier on July 2, 1776. The completed document was signed by most members of the Congress on August 2, 1776, with the document being formally delivered to the British in November of that same year.*
For some reason I found myself thinking about the founding of our country while I was helping my sweet wife with her breakfast this morning. The historical truth that captured my imagination was how the majority of our new nation quickly began to govern and see themselves as Americans soon after the first copies of the Independence document called “The Dunlap Broadside were circulated throughout the new nation.”* This happened even though the war that had begun a year earlier in April 1775 was escalating and would continue for another seven years when the final peace treaty with the British was signed on September 3, 1783.
That one document became the standard that directed our country’s thoughts, ideas and daily lives during the long conflict, which many at the time felt was the tyrannical reign of the British Empire. Isn’t it interesting how that document was, in many ways, similar to the standard that the Bible is to us Christians?
Between the initial military conflict in 1775 until the signing of the treaty in 1783 (and then some…**) the war raged on and in the natural scheme of things, nothing looked much different and at times even worse than the colonists had before the conflict. But through those long years of hardship, those first proud citizens of our country stood their ground, lived as members of an independent nation and pushed on through until the British troops finally sailed on home!
That is just like the daily life that Christians live on this earth. Jesus prayed to the Father before His death, burial and resurrection: “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 17:14-16 KJV)
You see, as Christians we are no longer under the rule and dictates of this world… just as our forefathers saw themselves as independent of British rule… even though the Redcoat troops were still visible around the land! Therefore, the standards of rule for our lives should be the Word of God… and the exciting part is that when we follow those guidelines and walk according to the principles of Godly love, in 99.9% of circumstances, you’ll find that you’re adhering to and most times exceeding the approval of the written laws of the land!
So how do we accomplish that? We follow the examples of the citizens of those rag-tag colonies as they faced head-on the strongest and greatest army of the known world in their time. We live our lives according to the greater standards of God’s Word… no matter what contrary evidence we see around our homes, our jobs, our churches and throughout our world! In fact, when you study the beginnings of our country and the standard of rule that our forefather’s established, it becomes pretty clear that our initial government was set up around the Bible and the Godly principles that it declares.
I guess that is the reason I still get a little teary eyed when I stand before the Red, White and Blue of Old Glory and proudly proclaim:
"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Ah… go ahead…. If you haven’t done so yet, take out your flag and proudly display it in front of your home… and as you watch it flowing in the breeze, put your hand on your heart and declare aloud the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag and the Godly principles it stands for!
Have a great Fourth of July holiday, and as you do keep asking yourself… “What standard am I expecting to live my life by today… and every other day as well?”
** The war for American independence began with military conflict in 1775 and lasted at least until 1783 when the peace treaty with the British was signed. In fact, Native Americans in the west (who were allied with the British, but not included in the 1783 negotiations) continued to fight and didn't sign a treaty with the United States until 1795. The Revolution was a long, hard, and difficult struggle. (http://www.ushistory.org/us/13.asp)