Your Own Independence Day

This coming Thursday, our nation will celebrate our Independence Day holiday that occurs on July 4th of every year.  I very much enjoy this holiday.  It marks a time where I get to gather together with my friends and family, enjoy some fireworks, and get to reflect on how blessed I am to live in what I consider to be the greatest country in the world.

In the United States., we’re granted certain freedoms that we often take for granted.  Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom of information, along with a plethora of others.  Our country rightfully takes pride in these freedoms, and I’m proud to be apart of it.

While I do think it’s important we value these freedoms we have, I think it’s also important we recognize what true freedom is and what it isn’t.

We often think that because we live in America we’re “free” from persecution and oppression, but Jesus tell us that freedom is not simply a physical state, but rather a spiritual one,

“I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.  Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”–John 8:  34-36

Freedom is not simply being able to do whatever we want without restraint from an oppressive person or government; rather, freedom is being free from all evil that exists in the world and allows us to be all we were created to be!

I didn’t really understand this concept when I first became a Christian.  I thought following Jesus would mean I’d have to give up my “freedom” and wouldn’t be able to act however I wanted or experience certain things I thought would be “fun.”

There is some truth in that.  If you become a Christian you do have to sacrifice some of your selfish desires, but the cost is well worth the reward.  Christianity is based on a loving relationship with God, and in any loving relationship, you have to sacrifice some of your independence to be a part of it.

If you love your wife, you have to sacrifice your time, money, and certain desires to treat her in a loving way.

If you love your children, you have to sacrifice your time, money, and certain desires to treat them in a certain way.

And if you love your friends, you have to sacrifice your time, money, and certain desires to treat them rightly as well.

Thankfully, loving God is not a “one way” street.  For God not only loves us, but His love is far greater than any of us can even imagine!

“Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, and your faithfulness to the skies.”–Psalm 36: 5

God sacrificed Himself on the cross for us.  He humbled Himself, gave up His right to stay in Heaven, and came down here to save us out of sacrificial love!

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”–1 John 4: 10

Humans are most free in loving, sacrificial relationships.  Why?  Because that is how we were created to be!  We were created in God’s loving image to be in sacrificial relationships with each other and with Him.  Thus, when we come into a relationship with Jesus, we can find freedom from the things of this world…

From our sins, from our physical imperfections, from our failures and disappointments, from the expectations of others, from the expectations we put on ourselves, from those who persecute us, from those who hurt us, from pain, from worry, and even from death itself!

The freedoms we are given in America are great, but they are incomplete.  Come to Jesus and He will give you a freedom that liberates you from fear and judgment.  A freedom that promises life in God’s perfect love.  A freedom you were made to have and be apart of forever!

Won’t you declare today as your Independence Day?

-BH

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