It is a great blessing and privilege to live in a nation such as the United States of America. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to many nations around the world in my life thus far, and I’m always blessed to return home. I know that people from other lands would say the same thing if they were returning to their nation of origin, but I believe there is something special about the USA.
Liberty is no doubt at the heart of what makes the America great. A trust in God has, I believe, been of great importance too. Dennis Prager adds a third value – E pluribus unum, “Out of Many, One” – which he shows can each be found on our coinage. He calls these three values “The American Trinity” and sites them as the foundation of American exceptionalism. Independence Day is certainly one of our favorite holidays as a people. It looks back to the great “Declaration of Independence” ratified 235 years ago today, and celebrates our national independence. National independence is essential for any nation to thrive; we could also call it national sovereignty.
Independence day often causes me to ponder another reality that has nothing to do with the USA.
As a sinner places their trust firmly in God, He grants to them liberty from sin and death. While doing so He also gathers the many who come to Him for salvation, into one body, His church. What this means for the Christian is that he (or she) cannot truly be individually independent. We (Christians) are wholly dependent upon God, and at the same time interdependent upon one another within the body of Christ.
The more time I spend in fellowship with God, the more I find that my cultural values as an American often conflict with the values of the Kingdom of God. The individual independence which is so highly exalted in 21st century America is actually counterculture to Christianity. No Christian survives long on their own. God has created us, in Christ, with this interdependence. Self-reliance is therefore, not really possible for us; and quite honestly, this is hard for me, because of pride.
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25 KJV
Miles — Amen! I think your time outside the U.S. was likely helpful in you hearing this truth from the Holy Spirit. I always “got it” a little bit and knew that something was askew, but I didn’t REALLY “get it” until getting outside of my home culture long term. Studying and teaching the word of God (as well as just living life) in an environment where my home culture had little daily influence on me, combined with learning new cultures and world views, was SO very helpful in learning what was there in Scripture all along: a gospel culture… the culture of Christ… the culture of His kingdom.