Today, as I am writing this, it is 4th of July, our nation’s birthday. I love 4th of July. It’s a time for family, food, laughter, and it gathers people together who wouldn’t normally gather otherwise. I love it, and on this beautiful day when we will celebrate the 242nd year of our nation, I think there are quite a few lessons we can learn from this great country that apply perfectly to our faith. As you are celebrating today, I pray you think about these lessons and how they may apply to your faith.
Freedom takes works.
The old adage “Freedom isn’t free” has become such a common slogan that it has lost its meaning, but freedom comes at the expense of fighting and struggling and pain and loss. We’ve seen that happen countless time in our nation and many others nations. Never does this become more real than when you walk through the rows of flags at Arlington National Cemetery. Freedom takes work, but it’s not just true for a nation. It’s also true in your own life.
Your personal freedom from whatever challenges you face, addictions you have, or vices you struggle overcoming takes work. You won’t be an overcomer without work. You won’t find freedom unless you are willing to sacrifice to get there. This is why James, the brother of Jesus, said things like “faith without works is dead.” Your freedom is going to take effort, energy, and work. Learn a lesson from our nations history and work for the freedom you desperately want to have.
Celebrate the freedom you have.
Every year we celebrate this great freedom we have been given in this country. We have freedom to worship without consequences. I have the freedom to write this blog without fear of repercussions. We have freedom to speak our mind and voice our opinions. We have freedom to move anywhere we would like to in our country, and every year as a nation we celebrate this freedom. Every July 4th there are fireworks as an expression of joy and remembrance for the countless blessings and freedoms our nation has.
Maybe you don’t realize this, but you have been given countless freedoms as well through Jesus Christ. You have been given freedom from the power of sin, your guilt was paid for on the cross, and you have been granted eternal life through Jesus Christ. On top of all of this Jesus wants you to have a blessed life today. That’s why he said, “I have come that you may life more abundantly” (John10:10). We have been given a beautiful gift, and we need to celebrate it. Thank God every year for the endless blessings he has poured out into your life. Whether you are rich or poor, whatever race you are, or wherever you live, you have been blessed if you have received the freedom of Jesus Christ. Don’t forget to celebrate your freedoms.
We aren’t perfect.
Our nation’s past is littered with systemic wide poor choices. We owned an entire race of people as slaves. We stole land from Indians through some pretty horrible ways. We sent two atomic bombs on top of cities with innocent men, women, and children. Our nation has not always been perfect, and I hope you are able to admit it. The reason our nation hasn’t been perfect and will never be perfect is because our nation is filled with broken and sinful people, and it will continue to be a broken and imperfect nation because of the brokenness inside of all of us.
This brokenness and imperfection demonstrates all the more our need for a loving savior and a personal heavenly father who will guide us through all of our imperfections. You are imperfect. Our nation is imperfect, and with our imperfections we need to desperately plea for the grace of God to show up in our life and in our nation. We don’t need to forget our personal past or our nation’s past, but rather we need to learn from and thank God for showing grace in spite of it all.
I hope you have an amazing 4th of July. God has blessed you more than you could ever imagine or dream of and make sure you remember to celebrate him on this day you also celebrate this country.
Pastor Chris Weatherly
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