As I’m writing this, we are a couple of days away from the celebration of the birth of our nation in America with great fanfare and loud, beautiful displays of fireworks. It all reminds us that we are free. Free to pursue what we feel is best for our lives and our families. Free to exercise our “religion” even if it’s different from our neighbor’s. Free to earn a living and spend or save as we see fit. Free. I’m an American citizen and I love my freedoms as much as the next person.
The freedoms we enjoy are the reason so many people are clamoring to get into our country. Regardless of our varying opinions on how we should view that and handle it; the fact remains that lots of people, in many places in the world, want to enjoy the freedoms we do in the USA.
History is replete with the stories of heroes from many countries of the world who have fought for freedom. I’m thinking about Scotland’s fight for independence and almost feel like I can hear the cry of William Wallace as he was portrayed by Mel Gibson; “Freedom!” We all want to be free. Being controlled by anything or anyone else is contrary to our nature as humans.
But I’m also glad for another freedom that I enjoy today. It’s the freedom I have in Christ. As Jesus talked with the Pharisees in John 8, He spoke of the possibility of them being set free by the truth. When they heard that, they were offended and told Jesus they had never been enslaved to anyone. This was, of course a misunderstanding of history, but Jesus didn’t take time to correct them; He simply referred them to a different kind of slavery. Not a slavery to people or systems, but a slavery to sin. They had no ability to overcome the sin that was in their hearts. I know that feeling; don’t you?
Then he said this amazing sentence: “if the Son (speaking of Himself) sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Simple, but profound. If you are in Christ, you are free from sin. But I don’t always feel like I’m free from sin, do you? I still struggle with actions and thoughts that I know I shouldn’t. So how are we free in Christ? We are free from sin’s principle and its power. As far as God is concerned, once I trust in Christ as my only hope of salvation, I am no longer “under” sin. He considers me righteous in His sight. That alone is amazing. But I am also free from the power of sin. Prior to coming to Jesus, sin controlled me. I couldn’t break its power in my life. Now I can gain victory over sin by the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in me.
That’s real freedom. The war is won. The skirmishes continue. I still sometimes give in to the enemy and get off the path of righteousness. But this isn’t because I can’t help myself; its because I have allowed my self to think that my happiness…my freedom is found in something other than my relationship with Jesus.
I’m going to try to use this year’s Independence Day celebration of freedom to get my attention focused on my real freedom. A freedom that Jesus secured for me and that will be fully realized when I am finally home in Heaven with Him someday.