IT IS FOR FREEDOM WE ARE TRULY FREE
5 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm,then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 2 Corinthians 4:11
Today is the last day of June. Funny how slow it seems time has gone since we have been in this pandemic, but then in the blink of an eye, we find ourselves once again about to celebrate another birthday for our country. Hard to really believe what has gone on over the last year or even over the last 244 years. We have seen so much hurt and prosperity. We have been in World Wars and watched as we have become one of the most industrialized nations in the world. I know that I have quoted Lee Greenwood before, but today I continue to ponder the phrase, Proud to be an American. Don't get me wrong, there is definitely no place I would rather be and understand that I bleed red, white and blue, but there has been so much change since the time our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence and shed their blood all in the name of Freedom. Things that have allowed the USA to be a leader to the world, and times that continue to cause me to question what does the rest of the world even begin to think about what we are doing. Freedom is a gift and a privilege that we have ALL received, and just like the scripture says, for much that is given, much is required Luke 12:48.
How do you use your freedom? I know that there are many in the world who desperately seek the freedom that we have in America. I know that many will sacrifice all of their possessions and even their lives in hopes of giving their children a chance to prosper in America. Freedom is one thing I think that we truly take for granted. I think we have missed the opportunity to shed some light on the world and lead by example in a way that can truly
honor the gift of freedom we have been given and not destroy the hopes, dreams and futures of those that are following behind us. I think sometimes about how my parents must have felt when they were my age now. I am sure they thought at any minute we were going to war with Russia. I am sure that they thought that the economy was never going to be there by the time I got to their age. I am sure they felt that there were times when the world was going to come to an end. Hmmmm that sounds pretty familiar, but one thing that was never an after thought was our freedom. I was reminded constantly that there is no such thing as a free lunch and that if you wanted to succeed in life you had to be willing to be to put in hard work. Family was a valuable gift and everything that we had in life was a gift that was provided by God that we definitely did not deserve at times, but in this idea of FREEDOM we were truly FREE.
We were free to think that anything was available for us if we were willing to sacrifice ourselves for others. We were not entangled by the red tape in the world because of our family past or history, but we were free to pursue our dreams in a world full of adventure. Today, I chose to tackle two verses in our blog. The first is from Paul's letter to the Galatians and we see our key phrase, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm,then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Paul is helping us to see that God has given us the ability to be freed in this world. Freed from the slavery of sin and the choices we make to be confined by the world. We have been freed in order that we may go and tell the world that we have been given a new life to live. We have been freed from the burdens that have held us down for so long and we are now called to go and show the rest of the world how to live in this freedom. But notice that it is going to continue to be a constant fight to remain free. Christ came and died that we would be loosed from these chains that entangle our lives, but it does not mean that evil will cease to try and trap us. Once our eyes are opened to the freedom that we truly have, evil will continue to find new ways to confine us back in the world's box.
In our second verse, Paul is speaking to the people in Corinth after he has already been in jail multiple times. He gives us a real understanding of the battle that continues to be at hand in regards to freedom. Paul writes, "For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body." We are alive because we have experienced freedom from death and our lives become a living testimony of how we received that freedom. We are always going to have to battle the forces of evil, whether they be physical or spiritual, to maintain our freedom. We are alive as a testimony of the sacrifice that was given for us that we may receive this freedom through Christ's death. We are fighting this battle for FREEDOM every day of our lives. It will never be over until
Christ returns. As I mentioned before, if we really want to be TRULY FREE, we have to wage war against the evil in our lives and in this world on a daily basis. We have to be willing to die to self in order that others see Christ through us. We have to be willing to recognize that there are others that are still trapped by the things of this world. Those that have experienced freedom, must do all that we can to help others experience this same freedom in life. Remember that sometimes freedom is more than just a physical state. Freedom is an ability to loose ourselves from the things that bind us to sin and death. We as people... we as a country must continue to realize that we have been given the power of FREEDOM and we must continue to use it wisely or we will lose it all together.
I want to close today by just leaving you with the words to the preamble of the Declaration of Independence as we celebrate Independence day this Saturday. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that ALL men are created equal, that they are endowed by their CREATOR, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." I hope and pray that you take time today an reclaim your FREEDOM, your INDEPENDENCE over the evil and sin of this world. I pray that you recognize the lives that have died fighting for this freedom we, many times, take for granted, but that we TRULY realize that it was through the blood of Christ that allows us to be TRULY FREE. Not just free from the physical chains in life, but free from the eternal consequences we deserve in our death. My favorite part of our communion liturgy are these words, may you hold them close to your hearts today and live in their truth. In the Name of JESUS CHRIST you are FORGIVEN....YOU ARE FREE!