Today is July 4th… America’s birthday! Happy Independence Day!
Unless you’ve been living under a scone the past 236 years, today celebrates America’s declaration of independence from the tyranny of foreign rule and oppression.
It would be easy to add to the red, white, and blue background noise that is already rolling over us today.
I’ve decided to talk about a different kind of independence.
Much has been and will be said about the price of freedom. Many in my family have proudly served our country in the military, and I do both honor and value the freedom I enjoy to even write and publish my thoughts because of the sacrifice for said freedom.
Again… there is a different kind of freedom of which I choose to speak.
How many of us will gather today with our families, with our friends and neighbors to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy… and be as enslaved and oppressed as our forefathers? I wonder if they know something is amiss… but can’t quite understand the ‘why’ of it. And how many walk around with the full knowledge of this bondage… knowing in and with their hearts that they are not free?
I’ve played music in many prisons through the years, and have often commented that you don’t have to be in prison to be a prisoner.
It would be simplistic to point out the physical bondage that is being lived today. I certainly do not want to lessen the reality of the needs of those in poverty, in hunger, those wracked by the throes of addictions, the real slavery of the sex trade, and the still-present specter of hated and prejudice.
May I be so bold as to suggest that all these ills, while terrible, are the symptoms of a deeper issue?
An issue with the heart.
Today is Independence Day. And on this day, choices will be made. Declarations of freedom proclaimed. Some will be spontaneous, and others long-planned. Some will be good and some bad.
And they all come with a price.
We live in a country, for all it’s problems, that is free. But today, many of us live in the prison of fear. Wearing the chains of choices long made. Paying the price for the darkness of our hearts.
But there is good news!
Today… there is Hope. There is a freedom we can know and experience in the deepest reaches of our hearts. I have been reminded that nothing in this world can satisfy. Nothing that can bring true freedom and peace and joy except Christ.
This is not to say that decisions and declarations will not continue to be made. Choices will be made… for good or ill.
But Christ stands ready to extend His freedom to us. His love, grace, and mercy are available to those who call upon Him. The price for this eternal freedom has been paid. The joy of this freedom is waiting even now.
He’s waiting to be Gracious. Waiting to be True. Love… God’s true and everlasting love is still waiting. Love waits for you.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners
Isaiah 61:1 (NIV)
All it takes is a simple choice to declare your freedom. The Father stands waiting with arms impossibly wide.
There is no area of captivity He cannot reveal.
No choice that He cannot redeem.
Nothing He cannot restore.
Today… broken hearts will be lovingly bound, chains will be loosened, and captives freed!
Happy Independence Day!