On July 4, 1776, representatives of the Second Continental Congress gathered to sign one of the most important and ambitious documents in history—the Declaration of Independence.
That day, at the Pennsylvania State House, our Founders didn’t know if they were signing their death warrant or the birth certificate of a brand-new nation.
They put everything on the line, and nothing was for certain. If America lost the Revolutionary War, they knew it likely meant death for themselves and even their families.
The final line of the Declaration of Independence is filled with their resolve. It proclaims: “With a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred honor.”1
The colonists came out of bondage in England, and they knew they couldn’t go back. In fact, they were willing to pay the ultimate price for their freedom.
John Hancock signed his name on the Declaration bigger and bolder than anyone else, knowing it could cost him his life. I love the statement he made:
“And having secured the approval of our hearts, by a faithful and unwearied discharge of our duty to our country, let us joyfully leave our concerns in the hands of Him who raiseth up and pulleth down the empires and kingdoms of the world as He pleases.”2
Hancock knew they had taken their responsibility and done all they could. Therefore, he was assured that God would also do His part.
Courage Is Required
The patriotism of our Founding Fathers required tremendous courage for them to be responsible and step out into what God had called them to do. And today, we are still reaping the dividends of their courage.
My definition of courage is “a willingness and ability to risk who you are and what you have for what you want and who you want to be.”
It’s important to note that courage cannot function in an atmosphere of ignorance—it has no ability. Courage is the highest expression of responsibility, and responsibility requires knowledge.
It requires courage to follow God’s plan for our lives and take steps of faith. So often, in order to move forward and have everything He wants us to have, we have to be willing to step out of our comfort zone and take a risk.
In modern times, when it comes to America, people are not often willing to risk much for their country because they don’t realize that everything we have came with a price. It wasn’t free. To gain freedom is not free, and to maintain it is not free.
Yes, patriotism includes celebrating our country on Independence Day and supporting our troops and honoring them on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. But it is so much more.
I love how Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines the word patriotism: “Love of one’s country; the passion which aims to serve one’s country, either in defending it from invasion, or protecting its rights and maintaining its laws and institutions in vigor and purity.”3
Patriotism involves maintaining our laws, which are the Constitution of the United States. It also requires us to safeguard our institutions of vigor—our police force and our military—along with our institutions of purity, which include our homes, schools, and churches.
The battle we are fighting today isn’t the same as the one our Founding Fathers fought—but it is just as important. We are fighting a battle of misinformation.
For instance, students in our universities today are learning history, but it’s often a revised history, stripped of the role Almighty God played in the founding of America and edited to leave out what our Framers really believed.
They are being taught counter-culturalism, post-modernism, moral relativisim, and deconstructionism. These schools of thought say, “There’s no absolute truth. The traditions of the past don’t really matter, so do what you feel like doing.”
The truth is, there are many people in America today who are active in revising our history and erasing God from society. That’s why it’s important for the Church to become knowledgeable so it can take an active role when it comes to protecting our liberties.
It’s Time to “Come Alive”
Webster’s Dictionary goes on to say, “Patriotism is the characteristic of a good citizen, the noblest passion that animates a man in the character of a citizen.”4
To animate means “to make alive.” So, it’s saying that patriotism is the noblest passion which causes a person to come alive as a responsible citizen!
It’s time for America to “come alive.” It’s time for us to act before it’s too late! And this can only happen if we are knowledgeable of what needs to be done...and then do it.
Remember, the freedom we have if not maintained will not remain. And if it’s lost because we’ve failed to pay the cost, we’ll realize too late that we have created our fate.
Freedom will cost you a portion of your time, but bondage will cost you all of your time and all of your freedom.
People often ask me where to start. I encourage you to get involved and take your civic responsibilities seriously. Take time to vote for men and women of principle. Remember, their track record is their resume, so check them out!
In addition, let your voice be heard about issues on the community, city, state and national level. It’s amazing what a letter or phone call to a Congressman’s office can do!
However, most importantly, take a portion of your time to educate yourself on our nation’s true history and discover exactly what it is we’re fighting to protect. As you do, I can promise you this: Your sense of responsibility will rise, and you will begin to “come alive” in a way you never expected.
Over 240 years ago, standing in what is now called Independence Hall, our forefathers literally risked everything for our freedom. And now it’s our turn to fight the good fight.
It’s part of our responsibility as citizens. It’s what it means to be a patriot.
Dave Meyer is Joyce’s husband and Vice President of Joyce Meyer Ministries. His passion is to share about this country’s rich Christian heritage and motivate people to get involved by praying, learning about the issues, and taking action.
1. David Barton, “Original Intent,” Wallbuilder Press, Aledo, Texas 2005, p. 360. 2. wordpress.com 3. Noah Webster, “American Dictionary of the English Language,” Foundation for American Christian Education, 1967 & 1995. 4. Ibid.