Today, we (in America) celebrate our nation’s birthday. Our country is 237 years old. But even more important than our longevity as a nation (we’re actually a pretty young nation compared to most), is the celebration of freedom.
Freedom, as you know, is not “free.” There was a great cost (blood, resources, time, etc.) to gain our independence and to establish a nation founded on many freedoms. It is good for us to pause and reflect on that cost and those who paid it, so that we can enjoy freedom today.
It is also good to reflect and celebrate the freedom God gives us. Our freedom as a nation is predicated on the fact that the God we worship values freedom. The God of the Bible is opposed to tyranny and oppression. Our God established freedom from the first day of Creation when He ended the chaos and brought forth light. He gave freedom to the first human beings: they were free to be fruitful, multiply and enjoy the good earth. He also gave them the freedom to choose; knowing full well that they would choose poorly.
But God went beyond the freedom of our choice – which we foolishly used in a way that brought brokenness, shame, darkness and condemnation – by exercising His own freedom: the freedom to love, the freedom to save, the freedom to redeem, to freedom to set free. Through the incarnation and atoning work of Christ, we have been set free – indeed!
So while we have been given certain, wonderful freedoms as Americans, our true freedom comes from being Christians (from Christ). Indeed, this was the freedom our Founding Fathers understood as “inalienable from God” which gave them the vision for American freedom. If there was no Christian freedom, there would not be American freedom. In fact, Christ-followers are always free; whether they live in America or in Communist China or under extreme Islamic fanaticism. For as Christ-followers, we are free regardless of any tyrannical ruler or oppressive government or even the “prince of the air.” We have a freedom that transcends any earthly or spiritual situation that attempts to enslave us. As the hymn writers, Townsend and Getty, exclaim:
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand,
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I live.
(“In Christ Alone”)
Whole Life Worshiper, celebrate your freedom with joy and gusto. Remember the God who loved you and created you to freedom. Remember those He inspired to sacrifice for your freedoms as Americans. Remember His great own sacrifice that makes it possible for you to be free indeed – inside and out.