Well, my friends, today’s the day. The Fourth of July: a day that demands attire of red, white, and blue, a day when repeated shouts of “USA! USA!” and “’Merica!” are even more socially acceptable than World Cup games. I love this summer holiday, but while I’m soaking up this glorious weather (seriously, where did the humidity go?) and the chance to celebrate the freedom I so often take for granted, my heart has also been bursting all day at the thought of a different kind of freedom.
It’s the freedom of Jesus. And I’m so thankful that for the last few days, He’s been bringing it to my mind over and over again—not letting me forget His faithfulness in every moment of my life. Because more often than not, I forget that I’m free. I take lightly the weight of the Cross and the sacrifice that Jesus made to set me free. Isn’t that crazy? The God of the universe sent His son, who was pure and just like Him in every way, to earth so that we could meet Him face to face. And not only that, but He came to bear our sins so that we could walk in freedom all of our days.
For the past few weeks, the book of Galatians has been my go-to when reading the Word. It’s so funny that when I ask God for direction, often times He points me right back to His Word. And as I was asking God for guidance about this upcoming year, I kept coming back to Galatians 4 and 5, both of which are filled with verses about freedom in Christ. Here’s some stuff that really stuck out for me:
5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
In 5:4-6, Paul continues instructing the peoples of Galatia by saying, “You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”
And the verse that struck me right in the heart was Gal. 4:8-9 which says, “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?”
I don’t know about you guys, but that’s me. How could I forget that I’m already free? More often than I’d like to admit, I fall prey to the lie that I’m not really free, that my sin is a forever thing, that it’s always going to define me, follow me around, and even keep me from the love of God.
It’s a truth I so often forget. I’m already free. I’ve already been redeemed. Yes, I’m sinful and broken but God called me whole and redeemed. And He calls you that too.
If there’s anything I’ve ever wanted, it’s for the people around me to experience true life and freedom in Jesus. Not for the sake of making sure they get to heaven or in order to get them to go to church. Those things are wonderful, but more than anything, I want people (you included) to experience the freedom Christ brings. Because I’m never more alive than when I know in the deepest parts of my soul that Christ has set me free.
Like Paul writes to the Galatians, it was for freedom that Christ set of free. We were created to be free, no longer bound to the sin that so easily entangles us! We were made to experience life to the full through and with Christ. But so often we are either too ashamed or too prideful to receive the gift of freedom, and therefore we continue to sit and rot in our addictions and shame. Friends, you were NOT created for that. And Christ has already set you free. So what are you waiting for?
Paul even asks the Galatians, “Why are you going back to your sin?” Not only do we know God, but we are known by God, meaning that He already knows the deepest parts of our soul, already knows our sin, and likes us anyways. He likes and loves you regardless. So why are we running back to pornography, alcohol, people pleasing, etc. to fill the longings in are hearts that God is so eager to fill?
We have an option. Either we accept His love and grace, walking out in the freedom He has freely given, or we continue to sin and either soak in it or try and cover it up by our “good deeds.” As hard of a pill as it is to swallow, no good deed that I do to try and earn God’s love is going to get me into heaven. Most people would look at me and say, “She’s a kind and moral person,” but without the love of God and the grace of Jesus, all the “good things” I’ve done won’t get me anywhere.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of trying harder. I’m tired of doing more with the hope that God and others will like me better. I’m tired of trying to cover up my mess instead of just admitting that I’m messy and asking God to help me.
It’s a choice to be free. You can choose to stay in sin, or you can take God at His word and experience the greatest freedom of your life. It’s a daily set of baby steps, walking away from our sin and walking towards Jesus, but there’s grace for every day—his mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).
You live in a free country, perhaps the most free in the world. That’s seriously something to celebrate. But I pray that as we celebrate this glorious country, as our eyes fill with the beauty of fireworks and our bellies are full of hamburgers or barbeque, that our hearts our even more satisfied knowing that we are covered in freedom through the blood of Jesus Christ. It is for freedom that Christ set you free- you didn’t free yourself. The things you’ve done don’t make you more or less free. God’s grace covers all, and it’s time to start living like we believe it. So, happy Fourth of July, my friends. You are free indeed.