In 1996 20th Century Fox released the film, “Independence Day” where an alien lifeforms bid to take over the earth was thwarted by humans who finally banded together to fight a common enemy. They figured out the secret to destroying the enemy ships on . . . July 4th, Independence Day!
Twenty years later the aliens are back, and with a vengeance! Almost like the Terminator character!
Enough with the movie talk though because that’s not the “Independence Day” that I’m talking about. Today is America’s “Independence Day”. This federal holiday commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on this same date back in 1776. (Interestingly enough historians still argue whether the the founding fathers even signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th. Many believe it was signed in August!)
I was always taught that it was on that date that America declared themselves to be a new nation, no longer under the rule of the British Empire. The truth is that we legally separated from England on July 2nd, but we celebrate the 4th because that’s when the final wording was presented to and approved by Congress. (It just wouldn’t be the same if we changed the date though, the alien movies wouldn’t make sense!)
As I’ve traveled the world it’s very apparent that we’re a blessed country! Even with all of the craziness that we see today we have one of the highest living standards of any nation and God has indeed blessed us. We should give thanks and recognize how blessed we are.
But, for a moment let’s talk about “Independence Day” from a Christian perspective. I have been told on a few occasions that the Bible teaches that, “God helps those, who help themselves.” But that’s not true! I was raised with a mentality that you work hard and pull yourself up by your bootstraps. I could be a self-made man if I just worked hard enough. But that’s not true! Now don’t get me wrong, the Bible is very clear that we should work hard. Just look at the Genesis 1:28 where God tells man to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it”. That requires hard work.
Where I exercise there’s a sign on the wall that reads:
Aspire – Achieve – Excel
I told the leader one day they needed to add another word to the sign and that’s because if you really want to “Excel” you’ll have to “Perspire”. Without hard work you can “Aspire” all you want, but you’ll have a hard time “Achieving” anything if you don’t “Perspire”, or work to get there and then eventually you can “Excel”.
But honestly, hard work isn’t what’s going to ultimately make a difference in the world. And that’s because we’re not or at least should not be “Independent” of God. It’s only by obedience to Him that we can truly achieve anything that will be of any consequence.
Think about the Apostle Paul. Prior to his conversion, he was a very focused, hard working individual and had achieved quite a bit. After his conversion, his message was one of boasting in his weakness, not in his ability! (2 Cor. 12:9) God makes it pretty clear that He helps those who acknowledge the fact that they cannot help themselves. As much as I don’t like it reality is that I cannot work my way into having peace of mind much less work my way into heaven!
So, happy Independence Day America. We are blessed. Christian, may today be Happy Dependence Day, on the Lord Jesus Christ. Because apart from Him, we’ll fail miserably!
Carl Kerby is an inspiring, motivating and highly respected Christian speaker. With more than 20 years of ministry experience, Carl shares his extensive knowledge and understanding of God’s creation in his presentations, outreach events, books and other resources as the President and founding board member of Reasons for Hope, Inc.