The Fourth of July is upon us with all of its hot dog and fireworks filled festivities. Add an “Independence Day” sequel, the anticipation of the Summer Olympic Games, and Presidential elections later this year and you have a recipe for a heightened sense of patriotism all around. It makes for a perfect time to stop and think about what a blessing it is to call this great nation home. America, with all of her flaws, is still a land of immense blessing and opportunity. We may be tempted to gripe and complain about imperfections, but we are privileged to live in a land of tremendous freedom.
This dedication to the ideal of freedom has largely driven America’s greatness. Our founding fathers stoked the flames of this ideal when men such as Patrick Henry cried out “Give me liberty or give me death.” Freedom is one of the most treasured things that we have. We should thank God often for our freedom, particularly in light of the many men and women who have willingly risked and lost their lives in order to gain or preserve it for us. Freedom is truly a gift from God and should always be treasured as such.
In fact, the very idea of freedom is God’s idea. We may have claimed it and even corrupted it a bit, but the idea began with God. His desire from the beginning was that mankind would be free. Free from sin, free from death, free from the control of others. We were meant to live in the freedom of being His. Though mankind lost that freedom when Adam sinned in the garden, God had a plan to restore it through His Son. That’s why Jesus said, “If the son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” The freedom that sin stole from us was restored through Jesus and it is ours if we believe in Him. He is the one true source of all freedom – social, spiritual or otherwise.
The truth about freedom is that it was God’s idea and can only be achieved through a proper relationship with Him. Our freedom is very much connected with God’s own character. In the many years since the founding of our nation we have traded this idea of freedom for a lesser one and have attempted to remove God from the equation. Instead of pursuing freedom in Christ, we are pursuing freedom apart from Him. Instead of pursuing freedom as a virtue based in God’s character and will, we pursue freedom as a vice to satisfy my own selfish desires. We have begun to worship freedom itself and have forsaken the God that offers genuine freedom. In this way, freedom has become not only our means of greatness but the probable means of our destruction. By casting aside God in pursuit of something only He can give, we risk losing the very thing that made us great in the first place.
However, both individually and nationally, it is not too late. Jesus promises to everyone who will know and accept it that the truth will set you free. The truth, of course, is God’s Word and this is where we find our hope for the future. When the unsaved world pushes for a freedom that ignores God and virtually eliminates Him from the equation, we find increased hopelessness and dissatisfaction. When Christians pursue a freedom that is primarily political and is largely defined by their convenience and beliefs, we also find very little hope. Our only hope is that we return one by one, heart by heart, to a commitment to loving and living God’s Word. It is here that we can find the freedom that once made us great. It is here that we can find the freedom we long for and true hope for the future.