As we enter into the month of July, we celebrate our nation. One of the several reasons the United States was founded, was for religious freedom. When we celebrate this Fourth of July, we would do well by honoring those that gave of themselves to have the dream of liberty fulfilled. Not only religious liberty, but also the right to have a voice through elections and judicial process. The United States was to be a nation where the citizens of that nation would have the right to rule themselves, a nation of the people, by the people and for the people. Regardless of how that has been opposed and smothered, the purpose of God still stands. God wanted a nation to be a lighthouse in the earth that directly reflected His plan in the Garden of Eden: man would multiply and tend and keep the earth according to His kingdom.
As Christians our celebration should not be only in our freedom as citizens of a great nation, but also as citizens of a great kingdom. Jesus expressed in Luke 4:18 how much of his purpose was to bring liberty to people, not just from seen opposition but also from unseen enemies. When He gave His well-known message of the Spirit of the Lord being upon Him, He twice mentioned that He came to bring liberty. He was sent to bring liberty to captives and to those oppressed.
Liberty in this context can be defined as a release from bondage or imprisonment, but goes even farther to mean a letting go or a pardon as if nothing had ever been done wrong. As believers we need to become rooted in the fact that Jesus is more earnest to forgive us than to punish us. We become so familiar with our shortcomings and weaknesses that we forget that Jesus came to set us free from the bondage that sin would put on us.
In all cases, liberty and freedom always comes with a cost and is “paid for” by someone. Fortunately for us, Jesus paid entirely for ours. The part we play is accepting what He did on our behalf and resisting the enemy when he refutes our freedom. Understand that His sacrifice isn’t so that we are free to commit sin but we are free in that sin has no power or control over us. We cannot be forced to do what we know is wrong to do. Jesus bought for us the liberty of being able to choose for ourselves our future. He isn’t forcing us in any way even though He has already laid out a perfect life-plan for each of us. His life gave us back our power of choice. The choice is simple when we live surrounded with love for God and appreciation for what He has done. In that atmosphere it becomes easy to refuse sin and temptation. It’s only when we are carried away with thoughts contrary to God do we find ourselves doing what we shouldn’t and back in bondage. We have the opportunity to become so full of God that the enemy has nothing on us, just like Jesus.
As we celebrate liberty this month, let’s remember that the only thing we become a slave to is what we subject ourselves to. (Romans 6:16) Let’s stay connected to the love of God and not give the enemy any space in our lives. Jesus paid for our freedom, let’s not waste it.
Pastor Jerry and Trudy