Devotional | Jeff Stewart | Jun 30, 2024

Declaration of Dependence

Declaration of Dependence

And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock and one shepherd. John 10:16


By far my favorite national holiday is July 4th. Not only do I love the food, family, fun, and fireworks, but I love the reason for the celebration … freedom. 

As you may recall, this all started with a group of 18th century colonists whose anger reached a tipping point because in Great Britain the King had set up a very oppressive system of taxation where common people had no representation. This system was bad enough for those living in Great Britain proper but was especially bad for those who sailed across the Atlantic and set up the 13 colonies on what is now American soil. These founding fathers rallied the original 13 colonies in a revolt that ultimately led to the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, and thus the United States of America was born.

Fast forward 248 years, and we would be hard pressed to call our country the United States today. In fact, we are about as divided as we have ever been. What once was the unifying mission of maintaining freedom from a common enemy has given way to individuals being unified around personal preferences, political preferences, racial preferences, social preferences, and religious preferences, just to name a few. Making matters worse, we have “sanctified” our preferences, giving them moral authority. So our preferences have become “the right way,” and everyone else holding a different preference has been deemed wrong, thus becoming our enemy. 

As followers of Jesus Christ, we must remember we have dual citizenship. Yes, we are citizens of the United States of America, but we are also citizens of God’s Kingdom. And in comparing the two, our heavenly passport takes priority over our US passport all day, everyday.

In Philippians 3:20, Paul reminds us, “We are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.” In Ephesians 2:19, Paul continues to remind those who have received Jesus as Lord: “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”

Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in a person’s life are the day they are born and the day they discover why.”

As followers of Jesus Christ, we maintain our unity around a common leader who has given us a common mission. We are not saved by our good works, but we are saved to do good works.

So as we are celebrating the Declaration of Independence, let me encourage you to also remember when you invited Jesus Christ into your life and were baptized, you signed not a Declaration of Independence, but a Declaration of Dependence. 

As we face daily pressure to declare our autonomy, we must fight hard to maintain our dependence on God’s Holy Spirit and stay focused on the common mission we find in Matthew 28:19 and again in 2 Corinthians 5:17-20.

Jesus commands, “As you are going throughout the world make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)

Paul says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their sins against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-20)

The only way to experience lasting unity is to remain loyal to one leader, Jesus Christ, and stay focused on one mission, helping people around us know they were born to experience new life in Christ.


Lord Jesus, I thank you for coming to earth, dying on the cross for my sins, conquering death through your resurrection, and sending your Holy Spirit to live within me. I confess that in my fight to enjoy my personal preferences, I often drift away from the mission to which you have called me, which can be summed up in living by faith, being a voice of hope, and being known by love. I commit this day forward to being a bright light for Christ in a world that desperately needs new life in Jesus. In Jesus name I pray, Amen. 

Jeff Stewart
Senior Associate Pastor


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