July 4th is Independence Day in the US. On July 4th, Americans celebrate the day our founders signed the Declaration of Independence, heralding the country’s new status as a self-governing nation free from external “tyranny and oppression.”
Independence Day, since 1941, is also a major national holiday, celebrated with parades, festivals, food, and fireworks. For most Americans, including ironically some Native American tribes, celebrating independence has become a sacred national tradition. Freedom and Independence are metaphors for who we are as a culture and as a nation.
The American preoccupation with independence also has larger, prophetic implications. America’s foundations are rooted in Judeo-Christian theology, and freedom from the bondage of darkness, violence, sickness, and sin remains a basic tenet of Salvation history. Every moment of our earthly lives presents continuous opportunities to choose between freedom or bondage.
Our very first movements on earth initiate us into the pursuit of freedom and independence. We struggle to leave the birth canal and breathe on our own. We struggle to eat, to communicate, to crawl, to walk, and to run. We struggle to be successful, to be popular, to be rich, and to be healthy. Throughout our lives, not only do we struggle to gain independence, but we aggressively pursue freedom from aging, from poverty, from sickness, from obscurity, and from death. Sometimes the struggle for freedom and independence leads us into bondage. Some freedoms are not a choice for Life . . .
It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:13-14,16)