Fourth of July!
There is a lot going on at Cross right now, and I was very tempted to write about something “internal”. But, the Fourth of July weekend is an opportunity to pause from all these happenings and appreciate the opportunities that all Americans have because of our freedom. I would strongly encourage you to read the rest of the church newsletter to stay informed on the congregation, but read the rest of this to reflect on what freedom truly means.
There are many accusations about meddling in elections, but many countries’ elections are rigged by the ruling party. There are protests about gender rights, but many countries won’t even allow the discussions to occur. The cost of a college education is out of control, but many countries dictate what careers you will choose. Our political structure is flawed and impossibly slow at times, but many countries’ citizens have zero influence on their leadership.
The United States is far from perfect; every country that exists this side of heaven will be. But, if I have to deal with a nation’s troubles, I prefer to deal with ours. Every person, every people group has the opportunity to bring influence to our nation — good people with Godly intentions and evil people with selfish intentions. There is no other type of freedom this world can offer. The call is for the people of God to exercise our freedom to make the greatest impact possible.
The selfish person I am tempted to be would rather make laws other people have to follow. This way, everyone will behave, and I won’t be bothered or influenced negatively. But this is selfish and would allow me to think all people love God just because they are following the laws. No, freedom allows a person to live out their true heart and makes me aware of how many people desperately need the love that only Christ provides. This is hard to see sometimes but can also be inspiring – inspiring me to continue to cling to Christ and pour out that true, unconditional love to all.
Rejoice in your freedom; honor those that have won it for you and passed it down to you. Have peace in the freedom Christ gives you: freedom from guilt, sin and shame. Embrace the identity He gives to you as His beloved child. Then, look around, see the freedoms expressed by others and love them in Jesus’ name.
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13