"So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free." -John 8:36 (NLT)
Written By: Pastor Todd
Now more than ever, I am realizing "freedom" takes on new meaning depending on what season of life we find ourselves in. As a young man, freedom to me meant turning eighteen, so that I could move out of my parents' home and into a place of my own. Now, as an adult with a family of my own, I am more aware that with individual freedoms comes a plethora of new stressors.
In this season of navigating life during a pandemic, it is no different. I find myself wrestling with this idea of "freedom." For some, it may be defined by getting back to what's normal. For others, maybe it's the ability to choose what makes them happy. For the early colonists, freedom meant the opportunity to establish their own independent nation during a time of great unrest and tyranny.
In this quarantine, being confined to our homes has led to schedule changes, close living quarters, and— for many of us—, unemployment. The result has led to heartache, struggle, and fatigue. There is a part of me that wants to shout, "Enough already!" An emotion that, undoubtedly, was felt by our nation's founding fathers.
The actions King George of England took, brought about an oppressive rule upon the people. Petitions made by the Colonists to bring peace and civility were disregarded by the king. What resulted was additional violence and insults towards any who thought differently than "the crown." At a crucial moment in history, on July 4th, 1776, fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence. Wanting to be set free from the tyranny of the king's rule, these men set out to forge a new life for themselves and future generations. Their intent was not to declare war with England but to create a government system with checks and balances in place. One that would include the Executive, The Legislative, the Judicial, and the Individual; Each in its place to provide checks and balances to protect life, liberty, and property for all people – equally. Together they committed to a new set of laws, guaranteeing the rights and freedoms we enjoy today.
Just as our nation's founding fathers risked their lives for our freedom, Jesus left his place in Heaven to set us free from the tyranny of sin (Philippians 2:7,8).
Before we were born, those early colonists took necessary actions to secure our freedoms. We did nothing to earn or deserve such liberty, yet we are recipients of it. Similarly, Scripture declares that even while we were still sinners (before we were even born), Christ had us on His mind. The distractions and temptations this world has to offer have separated us from a Holy God. But God, because of His great mercy, made life ("freedom" available to us through His son, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:4,5). Jesus gave his life so you and I could experience life true freedom both now and for all eternity (Romans 5:8).
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. What is in the past is in the past. God has given us a new life (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are more than conquerors through Jesus, who gives us the strength to face whatever obstacle comes our way (Romans 8:37).
Where would we, citizens of the United States of America, be today if there had not been those who counted the cost of freedom and willingly paid for it? What would eternity look like for us had Jesus not stepped in to take our place, sacrificing his own life for ours, at the cross?
On this Independence Day, let's be reminded of the freedom we have in Christ for today and for all of eternity.
- What's keeping you from experiencing freedom in Jesus Christ?
- What's one action you can take this week to help you break free from what's holding you back in your spiritual journey?