Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Unalienable Rights?

Let me set the record straight. I am not anti-America. I am thankful to be in this country. But that said, something has been nagging at me that has caused me to pray for wisdom in understanding, and it goes back to our Declaration of Independence. We read, "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."

I completely, fully, agree that all men were created equal. Humans were designed by God to reflect His glory. But it is the statement on "Rights" that has me all tied in knots. I do think that this declaration of unalienable Rights makes for a wonderful society with respect for others as the foundational tenet. I am struggling with a transition to the demanding of rights, more specifically in the life of the follower of Christ.

It seems to me, as believers, we have been called to crucify the self-life. (Galatians 2:20) And rights are directly linked to self--doing what is best for me, what I deserve, etc. But Jesus said, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." (Luke 9:23) Deny self and crucify rights.

If there were anyone who should have defended His name and His rights to praise, it was Jesus! Yet He said, "And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave-- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:27-28) Become a slave? This is the direct opposite of demanding rights.

I think at times we as believers read passages and take them as our individual rights--that others must treat us a certain way, or else. But this life is between me and God, you and God, an audience of One. If ever we think we have rights to anything, then that may be evidence that our "selves" have not been crucified. It is a daily dying to self. Only the God of this Universe has rights, and He humbled Himself to the point of death on a cross. Who am I to demand anything?

So I ask you as I have been searching my own heart, to what do you think you have a right? I challenge us to bring those mindsets back to the Word, rather than the Declaration of Independence, and pursue holiness rather than happiness. This God of the universe is more than worth it.

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