Are you really free?
July 4th, 1776, the day that we all remember as Independence Day. Our countrymen fought hard to free our nation from the British who sought taxation and rule of our new settlements. 242 years later, we will celebrate with long weekends, massive amounts of alcohol, parties, music and of course fireworks. Every red-blooded American loves to wave that beautiful flag and celebrate our freedom. A freedom we have maintained, fought for and stood proudly on, all these years.
The Apostle Peter describes the responsibility of true freedom in his first letter. “Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil but use it as bond-slaves of God.” (1 Peter 2:16) This is such an important message for us, as Christians who are patriots. We are not called to look like the world. Conversely, Peter calls us to be good citizens, “Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the King.” (2:17) This is our call as Christians who call oursel followers of Christ. As we celebrate our independence as a nation, it makes sense to be reminded to celebrate and be an example of people who have been given freedom in Christ.
Are we fulfilling our calling?
This section of Peter’s letter calls us to, “abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.” (2:11) Our nation has fallen hard for its fleshly lusts. The over-sexualization of our kids, the porn industry and the satisfaction of self, have become more important than service and sacrifice. Verse 2:12 goes on to tell us that our good deeds are how we will be judged by those around us. Behave, do not be filled with anger, love those around you, spend money on charitable organizations and do not do things that compromise your integrity as a believer. By these actions, we glorify our God. We are called to submit to our local authorities. Not to do evil if the government call us to, but essentially to be a decent, law abiding citizen. We pay our debts, our taxes, we don’t cheat people financially, we obey the laws of the land. Our actions are a revelation of our faith and our submission to God.
What is freedom?
Christian! Let this be a reminder that you are not free because we won a war. You are not free because we have the mightiest military the world has ever seen and are able to keep us protected from other ideologies and governments. You are free because of Christ, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36) We are only free because Jesus Christ gave Himself up for us on the cross, paying for the sin that separated us from the Father. Our God has placed us at an amazing time in the history of the world. We have been blessed to be a part of the greatest experiment of government the world has ever seen. We have men and women who have sacrificed all, to keep us free from tyranny, to build a better country for our children and their future. Our freedom is more than our sacrifice, more than our borders and more than the flag we wave. Our freedo
m as Christian Americans is about our responsibility to our countrymen to show that true freedom is found in Christ alone. Through our love and our actions, our neighbors will see Christ.
Some will hate us, period. No matter how much you love, sacrifice and serve, some will hate you. Love means honesty and honesty bears responsibility, because we strive to maintain a moral standard, some will hate you. (Matthew 10:22) This does not give Christians the leeway to be spiteful, it is just an opportunity to love our neighbors more. Many of our neighbors are living in dark places. Jock up, strap on your kit, get your weapon ready and get in there and fight. This means….love them.
As Independence Day comes upon our great nation, it gives us all another opportunity to thank those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep us free. It is also a good time to thank those who serve ever day here at home; public servants, teachers, people building our infrastructure, pastors and many more.
God Bless America!