Chuck Terrill: My Declaration of Dependence on God

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

In preparing for Independence Day, I re-read the “Declaration of Independence” at www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration.

Like you, I love America and pray for her. I am a patriot. I put my hand over my heart and repeat the Pledge of Allegiance. I stand and sing the National Anthem. I often pray for our elected officials.

Our Founding Fathers wrote that Americans have been endowed by their Creator with rights: “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.” 

Life is the unalienable Right of every American. Yet, abortion and suicide combine as a leading cause of death in our nation. Illegal drugs and legal drugs are claiming many lives. Tobacco use is still at the top of the list as a leading cause of death. Obesity and diabetes will be in third place this year as a leading cause of death.

Declaring independence from God’s ways is killing us. Make a commitment to be dependent upon Him for real life; eternal life. He said, “I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). There is no life apart from Christ. 

Liberty? Our obsessions say, “Liberty is a lie in America.” We are the bond-slaves to sin. Many citizens have declared their independence from the Ten Commandments. Our every waking hour is under the yoke of the tyranny of the urgent. Once upon a time only the clock was our boss. Now the clock is engaged in a “to the death” battle with our laptops and our smart phones.

The number one excuse for not attending a worship service or reading the Bible is “I am too busy.” “Sweet hour of prayer” is just another song from a by-gone era. Long for liberty? Want to know what true freedom feels like? Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 10:31-32). Have we declared our independence from God? Make a commitment to be dependent upon Him for true liberty.   

We are working overtime in our pursuit for happiness. Unfortunately, you can’t buy happiness. In the Bible, the word “blessed” is translated “happy.” A happy person is a blessed person. It is an unalienable right to be blessed by God.

Re-read Matthew 5:1-11. We call this part of the Sermon on the Mount the “Beatitudes.” The word “blessed” is used over and over. You might call them the “be Happy Attitudes.” Have we declared our independence from the blessings of God? Make a commitment to be dependent upon Him for true happiness.

Yes, our Creator granted to us the unalienable right of life, liberty, and happiness. Sadly, far too many Americans have declared their independence from Him.   

Chuck Terrill, who has doctorates from Master Theological Seminary and Trinity Seminary, is the senior minister at First Christian Church in Cassville. He may be reached at 417-847-2460.