Tomorrow is Independence Day here in these United States of America. It's the day (weekend) when we celebrate our nation's freedom. As a nation we are free to make our own decisions and laws. We are not ruled, governed or mastered by any other country. We are independent!
Cue the Star Spangled Banner and the fireworks.
Honestly, I am really excited about this 4th of July weekend. We have family visiting from out of state, and tons of really fun plans. I can't wait.
But, thinking about our country's independence has me asking another question.
Let me pause right here and tell you that this is not a post about the problems in our country, or the hot topic issues everyone is talking about. It's not a post about human-trafficking, racism, SCOTUS rulings, or the confederate flag. Those are all very real, very important issues in our country right now, and I may add my voice to the conversation, but not in this post. In this post I want to talk about something more deeply personal. Something that affects every single one of us.
In this land of freedom, why are so many of us still slaves?
You may be thinking, "I'm not a slave. I make my own decisions. I do what I want."
That's true, you are probably not a slave in the sense of another human owning your person. But, let me ask you this:
Do you feel free? Or do you feel trapped? Do you feel free? Or do you feel stuck? Do you feel free? Or do you feel guilty and regretful?
I have felt all of those things, and I am learning to live in the freedom of the only One who has the power to really set us free.
I would argue, that while we live in a free nation, many of us are not living in freedom. There are many things that enslave us:
- A Job We Hate
- Chasing the American Dream
- An Unhappy Marriage
- Our Own Thoughts
- Trying to Make People Happy
- Fighting To Be Liked
Did I hit on anything in your life that makes you feel trapped, enslaved, or anything less than free? Or is it something else?
The truth is we are all slaves to something. In fact, we may each be slaves to different things on that list, or things not even listed, but we all have one thing on the list in common.
We're All Slaves to Sin
Maybe you don't think you are slave to sin. Maybe you don't even think sin is a thing. Or you do think it's a thing, but it's not a big deal, and you're in control of it.
Let me ask you another question:
What is one thing in your life that you know is wrong, and you hate that you do it, but you can't seem to stop?
Now, not all sins are habitual, and they don't have to be habitual to enslave us. We are not just enslaved to individual sins. We are enslaved to sin as it's own entity because we are born sinners.
But There is Good News!
The good news is that there is One who has the desire and the power to set us free. Set us free from sin, and set us free from all of the things on the list, and everything not on the list. We can have the true freedom that is only found in Jesus, who continues in that passage to say:
"'Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.'" (John 8:35-36)
Jesus wants to set you free. Free from sin, shame, addiction, anxiety, depression, guilt, regret, debt, and anything keeping you from the full, abundant life He promises us in John 10:10.
How are we set free?
If Jesus wants to set us free, and has the power to set us free, why doesn't He just do it?
Well, He did. Now it's our move. We have to choose to receive His free gift of salvation and choose to follow Him. Then we are free.
Now let me be clear, the minute we make this decision everything doesn't instantly get fixed. What does instantly happen is we become children of God, our sins — past, present, and future - are forgiven, we are given new life, and the Holy Spirit lives inside us.
We are instantly given the power to walk in freedom, and that is the first step in our journey to learning to live in that freedom.
Friends, it is a process to break all of the chains that bind us, but in that process we get to really know the One who created us, loves us, and has a wonderful amazing plan for our lives. And it is the most wonderfully life-giving journey we can take.
What if you could celebrate your personal freedom while we celebrate our nation's freedom?
The Bible says "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) That means every single one of us. It also says, "the wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23) That means because of our sin, we will not only spend eternity apart from God in Hell after we die, but we will also spend our lives on earth as though we are dead, surviving without the power and freedom that comes with a relationship with Christ.
But there is good news. God had a plan. He knew that we could never pay the price for our sins, so He sent His Son, Jesus, to suffer and die a torturous death on the cross to take that punishment for us, and then to rise again on the third day to defeat sin and death.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16).
Salvation is God's free gift to us. The rest of (Romans 6:23) says "the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." We have to believe it and declare Him our Lord. "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9).
If you believe that Jesus is Lord and that He died on the cross for your sins, and that God raised Him from the dead, and you want to have a relationship with Him, tell Him that.
There is no magic prayer, or special words to say. Simply tell Him from your heart that you know you are sinner, you believe that He paid for your sins on the cross and that God raised Him from the dead. Tell Him that you are sorry for sinning, and that you want Him to be the Lord of your life.
Celebrate and tell someone
Congratulations, and welcome to the family! Welcome to freedom! If you just prayed and told God those things, you are now His child. You will never be the same! It's time to celebrate and tell someone about this important moment in your life. In fact, I would love to know, and I would love to help you take your next step in your relationship with Jesus. So if you make a decision to follow Jesus today, would you please let me know? I'd love to celebrate with you!