Reclaiming Our Identity

     As we come close to celebrating our Independence Day in America, let us look at our history to gain a reminder of truths that will serve us well to remember.  The world today is swarming with energy in a search for and the presentation of, self-awareness, self-identification, and individuality.   In all areas of life some are going so far as to impose their identity onto others.  It appears that we have become a society so insecure in our own identities that we sue anyone who does not accept our image.  Some have even gone so far as targeting others who would have otherwise left them alone to live their lives as they saw fit.  Perhaps this comes from days in little league when not everyone got trophies simply for being on the team.  As a culture we have learned more of Sigmund Freud’s theory of ‘Id’ rather than the truth of scripture that tells us that our Identification is to be found in Christ alone. 

     To give examples of modern stories of self-identification issues would give them more credit or attention than they are due.  Suffice it to say, there are enough examples in our modern world to make the topic of this article self-evident.   If you will indulge me, I will use an example from our U.S. Declaration of Independence to then reveal Kingdom Truths that all Christians would do well to embrace.

 

A Freedom Declared

     It is important that we understand that there are matters in which we are equal and matters in which we are not.  The U.S. Declaration of Independence begins with words declaring individual core equality granted to us by our Creator,

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.

 

     At the writing of this Declaration everyone was not Christian and everyone was not secular but our Founding Fathers came together and saw fit to agree on the supreme truth and premise of a Creator who gave freedoms to individuals.  This thought of individual responsibility can be further seen in the start of the U.S. Constitution which begins with ‘We the People’.

Freedom Threatened

     The greatest threat to individual freedom, as defined above, coming from our Creator occurs when one individual is deemed more free or equal than any other.   It is the primary task of government to maintain the balance of individual freedom without allowing bias or suppressive intent.  Any law written that does not ensure this balance is itself invalid by nature.

The Declaration continues,

‘--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,’ 

 

     The struggle in a free society has always been with the matter of whether those who have been chosen to govern would do so as to administer the Laws of the Land or alter them as needed to suit the needs of the governors rather than the governed.  An even worse scenario is to have government that would interpret the laws of the land so as to hinder one person or group’s freedom for the sake of another’s.  At various times it does become necessary to elect new leadership to hopefully correct the choices or decisions made by previous administrations.  This becomes most necessary when the National Identity becomes a skewed reflection of the original intent.  Our Declaration continues,

‘--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.’

 

     The problem has always been, within a free society, the process of reassessing the need for change.  As the proverbial ‘frog in the boiling pot’ illustrates, society is more disposed to suffer than make things right as the Declaration reveals,

‘Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.’

 

Freedom Recaptured

     But thankfully, even though time moves slowly towards change, as prudence wisely dictates, it is the wisdom and right and duty of the oppressed to make changes necessary for future security.  This often takes place when a tipping point occurs, when the oppressed feel compelled to break off the oppressive laws and governing influence that have developed.  Again, the Declaration continues,

‘But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.’

 

Our Identity Declared

     Identifying oneself as a Christian in the world today is becoming increasingly challenging as influences and threats from many sides cause us to weigh the cost of our Christian Identity and expected freedom and even whether the freedom to be a Christian will remain for everyone as an originally intended unalienable right.  Having looked at the U.S. Declaration of Independence as a framework, let us reinforce wisdom and bring change.

Standing with Focus

     Christians! No matter what country you live in, you must take a stand against evil and tyranny.  You must know the enemy before you can confront it.  Our first enemy can be ourselves.  Humble yourself before God and then pray for your leaders.  As an example of humble repentance, petition heaven to grant your country Godly and noble leaders by either changing the hearts of the ones in office or replacing them with ones that will honor God by acting rightly.  A critical heart is not what is needed here but it is the righteous nation who is granted righteous leaders.

     As America’s Founding Fathers knew, we all must determine which Kingdom, which identity we will claim.  We must no longer waffle between two choices.  God is not honored by a people who have not clearly decided and the world is none the better for a lack of choosing.

     Christians are called to be a light to the world.  If our light has become dark, is it any wonder if we have been cast aside and trampled on?  Christian or not, a people must embrace a sense of right and wrong in order to recognize evil when it is presenting itself.  You cannot defeat an enemy until you can identify him.  Like the framers of the Declaration of Independence, we must all humbly come together before God and realize that we all are equal and that has been granted by our Creator God.   

     America, like no other country, has a history of being a shining example of equality and freedom found only in the New Testament.   All people are created equal as defined by their Creator.  However, true equality cannot be granted or denied apart from God’s scriptural principles.   True freedom is found first and foremost as a born-again child of God, adopted into the family and transformed into the Kingdom of God because of the finished work of Christ.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.’   Gal. 5:1

 

Standing as One Voice

     Choose to live a life that honors God’s biblical model.  Jesus came to set the captives free and we must not be a people of fear or in bondage ourselves.  We are called to be a people with one focus and one united identity.

’There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.’  Eph. 4:4-6

 

Standing with Resolve

     Until we know who we are as Christians, we will not be as effective as we should be.  As our founding fathers knew, we can be slow to correct the errors in our world.  Perhaps believing someone else will take care of it.  Perhaps hoping it is not what it appears to be.  We must be willing to first begin with a fast, and pray for the Lord’s wisdom and then embrace the courage to act upon it.   It is our duty, it must be our resolve, to take whatever personal steps are necessary to ensure that we protect the freedoms that so many others have paid a price to gain.  We must do so in a manner reflecting the Kingdom of light while confronting the kingdom of darkness wherever our Lord leads us.

     In America, we soon celebrate Independence Day.  As Christians let it be celebrated with courage and resolve that we will identify with Jesus Christ and reflect His Kingdom first as we change the world around us.  Let us unite as a Global Body of Christ with one focus, one voice, and one resolve to live as our Founding Fathers lived - Free.

 

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