For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1, ESV)
Today is Independence Day in the United States! Happy 4th of July to you and your family. I pray that you have a wonderful and safe holiday. For many of us, it is a day off of work for backyard barbecues and pool parties. It is a night to get out and enjoy the fireworks. But the 4th of July is so much more. It is the day we celebrate our freedom.
Earlier this year, I visited Independence Hall (also known as the Pennsylvania State House) in Philadelphia. This is the place where the Declaration of Independence was signed. The thing that stood out for me was how ordinary the room was. But even within the humble surroundings, something significant happened here. I wonder if these founding fathers realized the impact the signing of the Declaration would have on future generations. It reminded me how some of the most extraordinary and sacred works of God take place in the most ordinary and common settings of life. We never know how a small word of kindness or encouragement will have an eternal impact.
Another thing, the signing of the Declaration was bold and brazen. Victory was anything but certain. The Revolutionary War had been raging for the more than a year. And it was on July 3, one day before the signing of the Declaration, that the British landed unopposed on Staten Island in anticipation of the Battle for New York. It would become one of the biggest battles of the war and one of the most difficult of defeats for the Continental Army.
Those who signed the Declaration of Independence had much to lose. These founding fathers had determined that liberty was more important than life. They had decided that they were willing to lose their life for the cause of freedom. They made their choice, and they were all in. It is easy to focus on what they had to lose, but they had so much more they had to gain.
That is the way it is the way it is with our life in Christ. Jesus says:
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25, ESV)
It sounds like a hard truth, but the reality is that we have so much more to gain in him than we could ever lose. There is not enough treasure or pleasure in this world that could match all that we discover in Jesus.
All the world will see is what we have to lose. But it is through the eyes of faith that we see the victory. The signers of the Declaration signed it in the faith that they would win the war. We fully commit ourselves to Jesus in faith that he has already won the victory over sin and death through his death and resurrection.
Finally, realize this day that our freedom is a gift and a responsibility. Our political freedom was won by the blood of the soldiers who died in war. Our eternal freedom was won by the blood of Jesus through his death on the cross. For many of us reading this (not all), there was no cost to our political freedom. And none of us sacrificed anything for our eternal freedom. But while our freedom is free, it is was not cheap. The cost was great and it comes with responsibility. There are many this day who do not live in freedom, politically or eternally. We have the responsibility not to keep it to ourselves, but to share that freedom with others and fight for it when necessary through compassion and grace.
- Give God thanks for the freedom you have politically and eternally.
- How can you promote freedom’s cause among those who do not share the freedom you have?