“The first stage moves from bondage to spiritual faith. The second from spiritual faith to great courage. The third stage moves from great courage to liberty. The fourth stage moves from liberty to abundance. The fifth stage moves from abundance to selfishness. The sixth stage moves from selfishness to complacency. The seventh stage moves from complacency to apathy. The eighth stage moves from apathy to moral decay. The ninth stage moves from moral decay to dependence. And the tenth and last stage moves from dependence to bondage.”
In my weekly podcast, The Lily Kate Show, I unpack this paragraph and what it tells us about our nation. Listen to it HERE.
The first stage of the American nation began with bondage, as a tyrannical British government forced unjust laws onto colonists, depriving them of historic rights and doing so without allowing them representation in parliament. But within that bondage, faith in God and belief in the divinity of Jesus and fundamental Christian doctrines was at an all-time high. The first Great Awakening was in full swing. Colonists had something to believe in and something to fight for.
And so they fought, and they won. The second stage of our nation, the War of Independence, was won by the faith and courage of famous leaders and lesser-known heroes as well. From Thomas Jefferson to James Armistead, to George Washington and Israel Putnam, a culture of faithful courage led our forefathers to victory.
Then, in the third stage of the life of our nation, with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, our republican form of government was framed. With the protection of this strong yet limited government came freedom of speech, thought, conscience and association, freedom to worship and freedom to prosper. This is the birth of American liberty.
In the fourth stage of the history of the American nation, liberty led to abundance: birth rates skyrocketed, food production increased, industrialization boomed and urbanization increased. Efficiency in manufacturing created more jobs than ever before. This fourth stage of American abundance lasted for a very long time.
But after abundance, selfishness creeps in. Selfishness leads to complacency, then to apathy. Apathy slides into moral decay, then to dependence and, inevitably, back to bondage. And that’s the downward progression of stages five through ten in the life of a nation.
If we reflect on the history and current state of our great country – the first nation to champion the proposition that all are created equal – it is natural to ask the question, “Are we in stage 5,6,7,8,9 or 10?”
My answer, as a 19-year-old politically active woman who loves her country and loves her God, is that it is a sudden slide. We may be in all of them at once. Different cities will reflect different individual stages or a combination of two or three stages. Some cities may reflect the abundance stage (stage four), which will soon lead to stage five… selfishness, whereas some may already be in total moral decay and bondage. It is tricky to identify these stages before they have already happened, but now that we know this cycle, we can look out for them within our communities, our local governments, our schools, our friends, our churches and our homes.
In my last article, I discussed how I believed that not all hope was lost in our great country. You can read that article HERE.
According to The Decline of a Nation, “The decline and fall of nations is usually due to internal factors rather than external threats. Even though some may have fallen to barbarians, their demise ultimately came because of moral and spiritual weakness which manifested itself as military weakness. Finally, unbelief in God became more complete, parental authority diminished, and ethical and moral principles disappeared, affecting the economy and government. Thus, by internal weakness and fragmentation, the societies came apart. There was no way to save them except by a dictator who arose from within or by barbarians who invaded from without.”
One could argue that America today has slid into a state of bondage, with our government pushing Critical Race Theory and hatred of white Christian men, mandating that people mask their faces, and constantly pushing to take away our right of self-defense.
It seems beyond dispute that we are in some state of decline. How can we stop this decline? How can we be remembered as the generation who SAVED America, rather than lost her like so many great nations that came before?
Well, the first stage says it all. We need to rise from bondage and step into spiritual faith.
Our nation must return to a posture of humility and repentance and trust again in the providence of God. Faith gives courage; faith brings liberty; faith guides reflection. Faith brings strength and boldness in the face of evil. When one truly believes in the power of the Holy Spirit and lives without fear of death, then he can stand firmly for truth.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9