This weekend there will be gatherings all across our country to celebrate our independence and freedom.
As a culture, we value our freedom highly, and because of recent restrictions experienced by so many, perhaps this year’s celebrations will be a special reminder not to take that freedom for granted.
This yearning for freedom was put into our hearts by God so that we would desire to pursue Him, instead of the bondage that life in a fallen world brings.
God offers us freedom in many ways; however, freedom requires a shift in our understanding and mindset to be fully experienced.
For many, freedom is the ability to do what they want: the 14-year-old boy free to play games all day, the college student free to party all night, the toddler free to refuse to eat his vegetables, or the spouse free to pursue the lusts of infidelity.
Freedom when wrongfully pursued actually brings greater bondage. However, when we pursue freedom through a close relationship with Christ, we actually experience the reality found in 2 Corinthians 3:17b: “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
Freedom through faith in Christ actually brings great benefits to our life, if we pursue it as a blessing from God for our good. God wants us to experience true freedom, and freedom is a great blessing from the Lord.
As you celebrate freedom with friends and family, don’t forget the freedom that Christ offers to you as a result of His great sacrifice for you.
Free from the oppressiveness of fear
2 Timothy 1:7 – For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Fear can leave us feeling trapped like we have no good options and no way out. It’s as if we are stuck in a maze that has no exit, just dead end after dead end.
Through Christ, we can have access to power, choose love and build self-control, which help us overcome our fears. We don’t have to be controlled by a spirit of fear, but rather God offers to us freedom from the tyranny of fear through the resources He provides.
Free from the power of sin
Galatians 5:1 – For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (ESV)
Life dominating struggles and sin can tempt us to despair, wondering if we will ever find freedom. We may know that freedom is theoretically possible, like winning the lottery could happen to anyone who plays.
However, it takes faith to believe that God could really free us from lust, anger, or pride. The freedom Christ offers allows us to experience lasting change, and refuse to become a slave again.
Free from the sting of death
1 Corinthians 15:24–26 – Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.  For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.  The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
The news reports next week will speak of tragic accidents and evil acts that took the lives of many. Whether car accidents, fireworks mishaps, intentional homicides, or natural disasters, death is a reality that we don’t like to think about on holiday weekends.
However, death is certain, but it doesn’t have to sting. Freedom from death, eternal life in relationship with God, is what Jesus offered us on the cross.
He crushed death so that we could experience the freedom of life in Christ eternally. Perhaps the greatest thing you could do this weekend is to be bold with someone who needs to hear this message.
Free from the dissatisfaction of selfishness
Galatians 5:13–15 – For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. (ESV)
As a teen, freedom was the ability to plan my day as I saw fit. Getting up, eating whatever I wanted, and relaxing! This still sounds good to me even as a parent of teenagers, even though it is rarely achievable.
However, the experiences in life that give me the greatest satisfaction are not really about getting what I want, but about helping others feel loved and cared for.
The Bible reminds us that freedom to be selfish isn’t freedom at all. Freedom to serve, to make a difference, is what God calls us to. God offers us something better than selfish pursuits.
Freedom will be celebrated this week, rightly so, as it is a precious gift. However, our national freedom offers us far less than our spiritual freedom found in Christ.
God offers us so much if we are willing to seek freedom through Him. His way is best! As you celebrate this weekend, remember to be grateful for your freedom in Christ and take opportunities to share that freedom with those still in bondage.
God has put within our hearts a desire for freedom; let’s all pursue it in ways that honor Him and help others see Him for the good God He is.