I think we need to sign a mental declaration of independence. Let's put our names on the line, pledging ourselves with firm resolve, much like those brave men did on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia when they signed the Declaration of Independence.
Did you know that of the 56 courageous men who signed that original document in Philadelphia, many did not survive the war that followed? Five were captured by the British and tortured before they died. Nine others died in the Revolutionary War, either from its hardships or its bullets. Twelve had their homes sacked, looted, burned, or occupied by the enemy. Two lost their sons in battle. One had two sons captured. Yes, the price of freedom was high indeed for those men. But deciding to be free, to think and live independently, to soar above the masses is always a costly decision.
In today's vernacular, committed individuals live with shallow tent pegs. They may own things, but nothing owns them. They have come to terms with merchandise that has a price tag and opted for commitment to values that are priceless.
Denying oneself is not to be equated with losing one's uniqueness or becoming of no value. There have been great people in each generation who modelled self-denial as they made significant contributions to humankind.
Chief among those models in history is Jesus Christ Himself. He is our champion of self-denial, the One to whom we look for guidance and strength in such a great task. And He is the King who has already determined what it will take to encounter and triumph over life's enemies. And what will it take? A few strong, quality-minded champions whose commitment is solid as stone. And the cost will be great.
Excerpted from Dear Graduate: Letters of Wisdom from Charles R. Swindoll, Copyright 2007 by Charles R. Swindoll Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.