The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe...
"Declaration of Dependence,
Declaration of Determination"
On July 4, 1776, the thirteen British colonies that would become the United States of America pronounced their "Declaration of Independence" from the rule of Great Britain.
Nearly 2,000 years before, the Apostle Paul proclaimed, as it were, the Christian's Declaration of Dependence:
"We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead" (II Corinthians 1:9).
We do well to thank God for both declarations. One led to an earthly nation that has been and continues to be a blessing to the world in countless ways. The other led to a holy family of sons and daughters of God in Christ who have been and will forever be a blessing to our Heavenly Father Himself, and to all His creation. Interestingly, many of America's founding fathers believed in their need for spiritual dependence on God, even as they proclaimed political independence from Great Britain. This illustrates the truth of the believer, that we are dependently independent creatures possessed of sublime freedom, but who require the presence and working of our Creator to enable the proper use of our God-formed liberty. The Psalmist well knew this reality of dependent independence.
"I will love Thee, o Lord my strength" (Psalm 18:1).
To love God or anyone requires our declaration of dependence on His motivation, leading, and enabling - "o Lord my strength." However, genuine love, as defined by Scripture, also requires our freely determined declaration of determination - "I will love." Love is impossible without the power of the God who "is love" (I John 4:8). Love is also irrelevant if merely programmed or coerced (Psalm 54:6). Thus, our Heavenly Father commands that we devote ourselves to love Him and others, but also provides His living and loving presence in our hearts to make our devotion possible. "Without Me, ye can do nothing… I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (John 15:5; Philippians 4:13).
Our response: the declaration of dependence, making possible our corollary declaration of determination. We choose to love in thought, attitude, word, and deed by choosing to trust our Lord to enable loving thought, word, attitude, and deed. "I will love… o Lord my strength!" Or as Paul confirmed…
"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."
But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.