Today is the day our nation celebrates its independence from England. Two hundred thirty-six years ago today, men gathered in a stuffy room in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and ratified what we now know as our nation’s Declaration of Independence. This document ensures American citizens certain liberties–liberties which were bought and paid for by men who fought and gave their lives to ensure those liberties. The men who fought and died were made up in great number by volunteers who dreamed of living a life of freedom in their home. I use the term men to describe gender because many of the men who were fighting were, in fact, still boys. While we would never think of arming a young child and asking him to defend our liberties, those early colonial Americans had to do this to ensure their freedom. These boys were heroes because they believed, fought for, and gave their lives for a cause they believed in. As I reflect on the sacrifice of these young men, I wonder if I had lived during the time of the American Revolution, would I have had the courage to go and do what those boys did.
Christianity is often compared to war in scripture, and as I think about the sacrifice of the men, both old and young, who gave their lives for our country, it seems that we must have that same sense of sacrifice when it comes to spiritual warfare as well. The men that secured freedom for our country answered a call to arms, much like we need to do in our spiritual life. The war for this country was fought with musket and bayonet, but the war for our souls will be fought with our sword, God’s word. Just like those men were asked to do something they had never done before, we are asked to step out of our comfort zones and fight a war against sin. Consider the way in which Jesus called his disciples for a moment.
27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
There was no hesitation; there were no excuses–only simple obedience and respect shown for Jesus Christ. I feel that the men who gave their lives in the American Revolution understood this and, as Christians, we must understand it as well. When an opportunity comes to stop what you are doing and serve God, then there must be no excuses made–there should only be humble obedience to God and his son Jesus Christ. If you had been alive during the American Revolution, would you have sacrificed everything and fought? A better question is this. If you had been in that tax collector booth, would you have followed Jesus? As we celebrate our freedom today as a country, let’s not forget the greater and eternal freedom we have as Christians!