Celebrating the Fourth of July holiday is one of my favorite childhood memories. My family spent every year at our family friend’s summer retreat along Indian River Inlet in Delaware. We had a delightful time boating, swimming and enjoying time with all of our friends who would gather there for the long weekend.
THEY YEARNED TO BE FREE
But this holiday is so much more than family vacations, backyard barbecues and spectacular fireworks displays. It is a time to honor the men who had the vision and foresight to birth a new nation and those who have fought for the freedoms that we enjoy as Americans. Our founding fathers had a wanted to be free of English rule. They had a deep-seated belief in a new way of living, free from tyranny and oppression. These people yearned to be free.
WORTH FIGHTING FOR
The dictionary defines “yearning” as a persistent longing; to desire, ache for, crave or die for something. It goes beyond just wanting. They were willing to die for this freedom. It is said that “freedom isn’t free”. While that may be a considered a tired cliché, it is the cold, harsh reality for those who have battled to defend it. The United States has been built on the bloodshed of countless men and women who gave their all, who believed that freedom was worth fighting for.
But while we enjoy many freedoms in our country, there are those who have not claimed the true freedom of living in Christ. They’ve allowed their desires for pleasures and lust for the things of this world to keep them in bondage. They have become slaves to the old sin nature, controlled by the temptations of the flesh. It’s easy to fall into the trap of sin. Adam and Eve were quickly snared by Satan and we can be too, if we’re not careful. We face a daily barrage of earthly temptations that can cause us to fall into acts of sin, resulting in guilt and shame.
GOD’S GIFT FOR ALL PEOPLE
The good news is that we don’t have to live that way. There is one who gave His all and shed His blood to set us free. John writes in Galatians 5:1 “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”. Paul wrote these words to the early believers who were struggling to reconcile their belief in strict adherence to the Jewish law with the reality of their newfound faith in Christ. The church leaders were demanding that the Gentiles submit to the Jewish laws and traditions in addition to their belief in Christ. Paul’s desire was to proclaim to all believers the good news of the gospel. That salvation is God’s gift, for all people. It is by God’s grace through faith in Christ Jesus. There are no other requirements to be met.
YEARNING TO BE FREE
It is true freedom and this freedom means life! Our past is forgotten; the future awaits. All things are new. And by it we are free to love and serve others, following Christ’s example. Are you yearning to be free from the things in life that are holding you hostage to sin? Are you willing to die to your sin and accept God’s free gift of salvation? That is true freedom!