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Remember our real freedom
Editor’s note: This column was originally published in our July 5, 2019, edition.
This week we have celebrated and are celebrating our freedom as America. It is a time in our busy, yearly schedule for us to enjoy time recalling what it means to be an American. Happy Independence!
The fashion in which we celebrate comes in many ways and various forms:
- Cutting watermelons and cooking out on the grill.
- Spending time with good friends on the lake.
- Traveling to the beach.
- Taking time to enjoy moments and making memories with the children.
- Swimming and catching some rays in the backyard.
Whatever you did, it was a time of being with people, doing what your heart desired, having a good time and enjoying life.
These are the things I was rolling over in my mind at the beginning of the week.
We live in a country where we can freely gather as a people and worship God without fear of being disturbed; there are individuals who do not enjoy such freedom.
We live in a country where we can work at any job we desire to do so and not have the government decide where we will work. There are some in the world who cannot do such as this until they serve in that country’s military.
We live in a country where we enjoy time to have fun, spending time with our family and friends.
Yet, these freedoms are so easily taken for granted. Often, it seems as if we just assume these things have always and will always be there for us to enjoy. It might be wise to slow down and enjoy these things which we consider such a prize, remembering the sacrifice made for such a life as we live in the United States of America.
I also considered the freedoms I have as a believer. Freedoms which were at a great price, paid for by a man – who was both God and man – on the cross of Calvary for me and for you. This freedom we have as believers is truly an awesome thing for us to consider. Freedom from the bondage, snares, sorrow of sin and Satan’s dominion. A freedom of liberty, life and a real, living relationship with a Savior who died and rose again so we might have abundant life here and hereafter. Freedom to serve Him and others as we live each day for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Seemingly, we go through life sounding as if these are valuable and indispensable for life, but take them for granted. We refuse to worship with the family of God, neglect reading the Word of God, fail to pray regularly, making excuses for serving our fellow man in a time of need. Or we blame others for our own shortcomings. In these ways, and so many more, we fail to enjoy the freedom we have as a believer. We become ensnared to an old life we have already put away to live a new life in Christ.
“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3 (HCSB)
The writer of Hebrews reminds us that our freedom was paid for by a band of faith and true believers (Hebrews 11). Each of these experienced failures and struggles, hardships and pain, yet they held true to God who made a promise, and He will keep His promises. These attained to the promises and stand as a solid reminder we, too, will receive the prize. By running the race, keeping our eyes on Jesus and enduring to the end we will see the real freedom awaiting us on the other side.
While the freedom we have in small town America is sweet and treasured; while we fly the “red, white and blue” and love what it means to be free in a land “of the brave,” there is a greater and much grander freedom we have as believers. As believers we remember that it was Jesus who has set us free, and this freedom leads us to the promise that we can live – forever!
God bless America, and God bless you!
Until next time…
Dr. Jeff Fuller is pastor of the Rockford Baptist Church in Rockford, Ala. You may reach him through the church office at 256-377-4900 or by email at email@example.com.