“If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions.” - Thomas Jefferson
About 3 1/2 - 4 years ago, I loaned a book to my former Sunday School teacher. That book was Watchman Nee's, Love Not The World. I never got the book back.
Today, as I was looking at some quotes that might be suitable to post on this Independence Day, the Jefferson quote, above, reminded me of that book and a particular passage of the book that particularly struck me.
Nee explained that, while many institutions are founded on lofty standards and have their roots in good and doing good, that left to their own devices and, without a righteous leader as their head, will fall into decline. The righteous root will decay without the proper visionary.
That idea, or truth, is why the leaders we choose to represent us is so important and always will be important.
Nee: Chapter 2:
"Most of the historic university colleges of the West were founded by Christian men with a desire to provide their fellows with a good education under Christian influence. During their founders' lifetimes the tone of those foundations was high, because these men put real spiritual content into them. When, however, the men themselves passed away, the spiritual control passed away too, and education followed its inevitable course toward the world of materialism and away from God. In some cases it may have taken a long time, for religious tradition dies hard; but the tendency has always been obvious, and in most cases the destination has by now been reached. When material things are under spiritual control they fulfill their proper subordinate role. Released from that restraint they manifest very quickly the power that lies behind them. The law of their nature asserts itself, and their worldly character is proved by the course they take."
Nee: Chapter 5:
"Christian civilization proves that it can mix with the world, and may even be found taking the world's side in a crisis. There is one thing, however, that is eternally apart from the world and can never mix with it, and that is the life of Christ. Their natures are mutually antagonistic and cannot be reconciled....
(Believers) "...Created distinct from the world, we accept with joy the fact that God has placed us in it. That distinctiveness, our gift from God in Christ, is all the safeguard we need."
Today, I celebrate America and it's independence but I am mindful of the independence a Christian believer possesses. Independence from sin through the blood of Christ Jesus, independence from "the world" by God's calling us out of it.
Happy 4th of July!