The fourth of July is a very important date. Today Americans celebrate independence being established and the birth of our nation. It’s a day to remember the price at which our freedom was bought. It’s a reminder that freedom is not to be taken lightly.
But how many Americans actually understand what it means to be free? How many of us really get what freedom is? How many of us take full advantage of the freedom we have? Do you?
Just because you live in a free country does not mean you are free. Just because you get paid for your work, doesn’t mean you are not a slave. Freedom is being exempt from slavery. But slavery to what? You can be a slave to the opinions of others, to your appetite, to fear, or even to demons.
What is freedom? So often we think of freedom as being able to do what we want, and not get in trouble for it. We think of freedom as independence from consequences. But is that really what freedom is? Or is there more to it?
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” -John Adams
The founding fathers understood something that, we today, desperately need to get a hold of. When people aren’t responsible, they can’t be trusted with choice. When people aren’t self-controlled, they have to be controlled from the outside. Freedom to choose what to do can only be exercised by people who are self-governed.
All throughout the Bible, God talks about freedom as a special gift. It’s not something to be taken lightly, or wasted mindlessly. Freedom comes with responsibility. It allows you to choose what you will do, but with every choice comes a consequence that cannot be ignored.
True freedom is being able to choose to do the right thing, even when it’s hard. Freedom is choosing on your own to do the right thing, so that someone else doesn’t have to make you. Freedom is self-control.
Freedom is choosing to set aside what you want, to make room for what God wants. Freedom is letting go of your ideas, and allowing God to show you His. Freedom is sacrificing your wants, desires, needs, and aspirations so that someone else can benefit. Freedom is sacrifice.
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ -Matthew 22:37-39
While it’s important to honor those who gave their lives for freedom, it’s important to remember the ultimate hero who won our freedom by shedding His blood: Jesus. We enjoy great freedom in America, and we should be thankful for that. But we need to realize that even if Independence Day had never happened, because of what Jesus did for you and me, we’d still be free.
No matter where you live, who you are, or what you’ve done, in Jesus you have freedom. You are free to do the right thing. The only question is, will you? This Independence day, let’s choose to take advantage of the freedom we have been given by doing what’s right.
[W]here the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. -2 Corinthians 3:17b
Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. -John 8:36