Happy 4th of July everyone, or I should say to all of my fellow Americans out there. I hope you are all enjoying your BBQ's and fireworks displays, and if you are in different countries where these things aren't happening well happy 4th anyways. God Bless you all and especially our soldiers out there far from home and away from your families. May the good Lord bring you home soon.
But on this day it makes me wonder what is our freedom about and what is it for? America gained it's freedom through a rebel war. There is no way to put this without offending some, sorry. The bible tells us to obey the leaders over us. The early Christians did not try to overthrow the Roman empire but rather just faced persecution knowing a better life was coming. Rebellion is the seed of America's freedom. And in the way that we have our organizations such as the ACLU, or the NCSE, the National Center for Science Education, or even the Gay rights activists, we are clearly a nation in rebellion to our Creator.
So why did God allow our freedom from the tyranny we were facing from Britain? While we don't know all of God's ways or all of His plans we do know that God will always use all things for His glory. A bad situation can be used as a means to teach a lesson or bring about a good thing later. Such as the case with Job. His own pride and arrogance was revealed to him and in the end God blessed him with even greater riches. So what good could come from our freedom?
None can deny that America has been a major world power for many years and although it seems like God may be lifting his blessings from us we still are a major influence in the world. Not so much now but in the past we have sent out some of the biggest missionary movements into the world and had such notable men as D.L. Moody, and Billy Graham. Clearly God used the rebellion of America to bring about a major push for Christ in the world.
But what is freedom for? Freedom as this world sees it is to do whatever you want that makes you happy. Drugs, alcohol, sex outside of marriage, all of this is outside of God's will, but not outside of the "freedom" that this world thinks is okay. So freedom as God sees it is to serve Him. Is serving someone else really freedom? Well, what does God ask us to do? To love Him and to love others. If you have a wife then you want to love her, buy her flowers, take care of her, please her. If you have kids you want what is best for them, you want to provide for them, and give them good things. If this is what it means to love someone else then is this a chore or is it freedom? God wants us to love Him, give him our best, worship Him. And in return He gives us life, both now and in the future world to come.
Yes it is true that in this world we will suffer many things for the name of Christ. But the rewards are of eternal value. But if we follow the freedom of this world we may suffer temporal pains like sickness, withdrawal, pain, and if we have not followed Christ then eternal pains to come. So which freedom is really worth it? Temporary pain and eternal happiness or temporal pain with eternal pain to come? If someone gives you a gift that is of inestimable value do you not wish to thank that person? Or what if someone saves your life from drowning? Do you remember the old war movies where the soldier who gets saved always would say to the other guy that he would pay him back?
Like in Saving Private Ryan where Tom Hanks looks at Matt Damon and tells him to "earn this" meaning the death of all his men just to save one man, Damon's character. See, we know that to be saved by someone means we are indebted to that person who saved us. Often we are ready to do what pleases that person who saved us. So if Christ saved us from an eternity of suffering in Hell then would we not want to do what pleases Him? And since His will is to live a life that is filled with goodness and thankfulness is that really a life of punishment or does such a life bring freedom, true freedom. It is time we "unlearn what we have learned" about what freedom really means.
I hope you have some good hamburgers, hot dogs, or steaks, and that fruit salad with those little marshmallows. Have a happy 4th of July everyone, and God Bless you.