Have you ever stopped to consider the cost of your freedom?
If you live in the United States, then you have a testimony that we can share in together.
It is 241 years in the making.
Today, we celebrate our independence as a nation. We celebrate the fact that thousands of men, and women, have given their lives so that we could collectively share in the freedoms we enjoy today. This celebration is held in backyards and parks across the United States with fireworks and tantalizing food fare (we will be holding our own celebration as well as enjoying the festivities in the park that is a block away). People of this country will enjoy fellowship with neighbors, family, and friends in ways that are traditional to their area. But I have to ask, “Do we know why?”
I watched a video clip the other day about the true origin of our national anthem. It was moving as the narrator gave his dramatic rendition. I became a little misty-eyed when he spoke of the determination to not see Old Glory fall. So much so that the only thing holding it up right were the bodies of Patriots determined to make this nation free. For this young Patriot, that alone is worth celebrating. Still, do we know why our ancestors came here?
Do we remember the sacrifices made to find Freedom?
The “Readers Digest” version is that the Puritans disagreed with the Church of England and wanted to worship the way they thought it should be done. Over time, their neighbors and the leaders of the church and state grew angry at their refusal to conform to the laws of the establishment. They were persecuted mercilessly to the point of starvation and homelessness. The Puritans persevered in their faith that God had something better and eventually made their way across the Atlantic to North America. Through their struggles, they kept their faith in God that He would provide all they needed. The first group was almost completely annihilated, yet others continued to come. The horror stories wouldn’t keep them from finding a place that they could be free from religious and social persecution. (I am not sure I would be that strong)
Now, those who know more than what our school history books tell us, know that it was not exactly a pretty time. I am sure many of those early settlers did things they were not proud of in an effort to survive. Even today, I read articles that ridicule them for their rather barbaric ways of surviving. My words to them are, “You have no idea what it would be like to be in that situation, so please step off the judgment box.” (I’ll keep the rest of that rant to myself)
It took them about a century to finally achieve freedom from English rule. A century of battles, resistances, feasts, and famines. Through it all, they were determined to have the freedom they longed for. They trusted God to see them through the struggle and death and were willing to fight for that freedom.
How many of us are willing to fight to keep our freedom, not just in the physical realm (as a nation) but in the spiritual realm?
Those of us who are part of the Body of Christ, have a far greater freedom, in my opinion. It is a freedom that has been obtained through death as well, but only one Man’s death rather than thousands. His death frees us from ourselves, from our worldly desires, and spiritual oppressions. It doesn’t matter what your denomination is, as long as we recognize the fact that without Christ hanging on that Cross we would be bound to the Pit for all eternity. We would have no mercy from our wickedness. We would be bound by death and darkness. I don’t know about you, but this freedom is much more desirable.
“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. NO ONE comes to the Father exept through Me.” John 14:6 (HCSB)
Both freedoms come with a great price yet only one has greater rewards.
I love my country and all it stands for. No matter who sits in the White House or in Congress. We may not always like what comes from Washington D.C. but we must trust our Maker in the larger scale of things. AM I willing to fight to keep the earthly freedoms I have? You bet! Why? Because in doing so, I keep my freedom to worship the One and Only God. I keep my freedom to raise and teach my children in the ways of my Lord and King. If I let that freedom slip through my fingers, I throw away the gift God has given us to live in a place that offers that natural freedom.
Don’t let this day pass without taking a moment to say a prayer of thanksgiving and for those who have and are serving so that we can continue to have the freedoms we enjoy today. Both in the natural and the spiritual.