The other day I was looking at the Beatitudes and was simply struck by how counter they are to our own American “Declaration of Independence.” Now, here I go again with another popular, feel-good post (smile). But this is a word that few want to hear: Our inalienable rights endowed us by our Creator and protected by our government – life, liberty, and our pursuit of happiness – do not necessarily coincide with the declaration of dependence on Christ in the beatitudes. I have never heard anyone say that before, and wish I hadn’t just done so, but there it is in all its glory.
Declaration of Dependence vs. Independence
This kind of leans back into my recent entitlement posts, doesn’t it? Many hear the words “pursuit of happiness” as “our right to experience happiness.” Well, this is just a recipe for destruction. God has endowed me with the right of free will, but not to the life I demand, the liberty I insist upon, and the happiness I expect. But wait—that’s my American RIGHT, right?
This course of action is a set-up for serious hurt and deep disappointment. Though it doesn’t halt my attempts, these ideals are not guaranteed me. And even if I have achieved my goal of the American dream, it doesn’t assure my true satisfaction.
Beatitudes: Declaration of Dependence on Christ
So let’s look at the declaration of Christ.
Blessed are . . .
- …the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (5:3).
- …those who mourn: for they will be comforted (5:4).
- …the meek: for they will inherit the earth (5:5).
- …those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be satisfied (5:6).
- …the merciful: for they will be shown mercy (5:7).
- …the pure in heart: for they will see God (5:8).
- …the peacemakers: for they will be called children of God (5:9).
- …those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (5:10).
- Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
You see, happiness is our drive but satisfaction is our need. God precisely created us to be motivated by reward. But there’s a catch here: the Lord is the Author of how my life is laid out and what my circumstances will be. As a child of God, He decides for me what life, liberty, and my pursuit of happiness looks like. And living His choice, then I am satisfied!
So what if our founding fathers wrote a Declaration of In-Dependence like this:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are the right to poorness of spirit, to being meek, to hungering and thirsting after Righteousness; the right to be merciful, pure-hearted, to be a peacemaker who is persecuted for Righteousness; you have the right to be insulted, persecuted and falsely accused, and ultimately, you have the right to rejoice to live God’s dream.
You see, God isn’t obligated to uphold my assumed rights of happiness. His passionate pursuit is for the rights of His SON—for His Life, His Liberty, and His Pursuit for His Bride. My declaration of dependence supports His rights to be my Life, to be my Rights and bring in His Kingdom.