We all know what happened on July 4, 1776. The 56 delegates to the Second Continental Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence so that 242 years later fireworks stands could occupy vacant lots across the country, Joey Chestnut could be free to eat 74 hot dogs in 10 minutes and the rest of us could enjoy life in an independent and free country. But what about July 5th?
A quick Google search of things that happened on July 5 shows a few interesting historical events. It was on July 5, 1937, Hormel Foods introduced the world to Spam (maybe Joey Chestnut should eat 75 cans of Spam today to celebrate). On July 5, 1946, fashion designer Louis Reard introduced “Le bikini” at a Paris swimming pool (If it’s all the same to you, I don’t want to see Joey Chestnut anywhere near a bikini). On July 5, 1947 Larry Doby started playing baseball for the Cleveland Indians (becoming the first black man to play in the American League) and on July 5, 1975 Arthur Ashe won at Wimbledon becoming the first African American to win the prestigious tennis tournament. July 5 is Independence Day in other countries: Algeria (from France, in 1962), Cape Verde (from Portugal, in 1975) and Venezuela (from Spain, in 1811).
On July 5, 1776, the news of the ratification of the Declaration of Independence began to spread. By July 9, a statue of King George III was torn down in New York City and melted into 42,000 musket balls that the fledging United States army would use in the fight against the British. On July 5, copies were made of the Declaration of Independence. A Philadelphia printer named John Dunlop made approximately 100 copies that were distributed to the colonies, newspapers and commanders of the continental army (There are 26 known copies of the “Dunlop Broadsides” in existence today. In 1989, a Philadelphia man found an original Dunlap Broadside hidden in the back of a picture frame he bought at a flea market for $4. It was in excellent condition and sold for $8.1 million in 2000. Now that’s reason to shoot off a few fireworks!).
All this to say, on July 5, 1776 the work of fulfilling the Declaration of Independence began. It was a costly work. Approximately 25,000 people died during the American Revolutionary War. The war began before July 4, 1776 with the Battle of Lexington and Concord, on April 19, 1775, and lasted until the signing of the Treaty of Paris on September 3, 1783. While July 4, 1776 made the Declaration of Independence from British rule official, the fulfillment of the Declaration of independence took time, effort and sacrifice.
Why the July 5 history lesson?
You and I can pray a prayer of surrender to the Lordship of Jesus in our lives—anywhere at any time. The decision doesn’t have to take long (a shorter time than it took John Hancock to place his John Hancock on the original document), but like the original signers of the Declaration of Independence deciding to follow Jesus doesn’t mean that the “fight” is over. In some ways, it is just beginning. Following our Declaration of Dependence on Jesus our enemy will try to get us to recant our decision (one signer of the Declaration of Independence, Richard Stockton, recanted after being captured by the British). There will be challenges and temptations. It takes a daily commitment to serve Jesus with all of one’s heart, mind, soul and strength. We must daily rely on him for His grace and mercy. Simply bumping one’s head on an altar isn’t the end point, but the beginning of a lifetime of serving, learning, loving and leaning into the loving arms of the Father.
If you haven’t made a Declaration of Dependence on Jesus, July 5this an excellent day to do it. Don’t delay. Give your life to Jesus today.