During the month of July, as a nation we celebrate the holiday of the 4th of July, commonly known as Independence Day. Over 225 years ago on July 4, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was signed, declaring the legal separation of the 13 colonies of the United States from the Kingdom of Great Britain or better known today as the United Kingdom. The Declaration of Independence was a resolution that declared the United States independence from Great Britain.
I looked up the definition of the word independence in the dictionary: “Freedom from the influence or control of others; the state of being independent.” How many of us remember when we lived at home, how much we eagerly looked for the time when we would be out on our own; when we could do what we wanted to do, go where we wanted to go and eat what we wanted to eat. I personally thought that it was going to be heaven when I finally got to live on my own with no rules; freedom from the control of others; independent; boy was I in for a huge surprise. I soon found out that if I wanted to be able to pay the rent, buy food to eat, make the car payment and put gas in that car, I had to go to work. To keep that job, I had to obey the rules at the workplace, whether I agreed with those rules or not. If I happened to drive my car to work, I quickly discovered I couldn’t just drive any speed I wanted to drive or disobey that funny shaped red sign on the corner or that bright red light hanging from a pole. I began to notice there were signs all over the place telling me what I needed to do or how I was required to dress to be able to enter a place to eat, how fast I could go, what line I needed to stand in, and people all over the place giving me orders; telling me what to do or not do. What happened to all that independence that I was so looking forward to???
When I first became a Christian, I read where Jesus says in John 8:36 “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” and I thought, finally I will have freedom to do what I want, but I soon discovered that was not what Jesus meant. I discovered this verse in the Bible that shook me to the core; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your body (life).” 1 Corinthians 7:22-23 “For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord’s freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when was called is Christ’s slave. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.” If one just read these two verses they would think they have signed on to be a slave to whatever God would want of them, though that is true, being a slave to God comes with awesome benefits. Romans 6:22-23 “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the ‘benefits’ you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Whether we’d want to admit it or not, no one is ever totally independent in this life. Even the richest of the rich have rules, laws they must live by. We have all been given a thing called free will to make whatever choices we want to make in life, but we must understand the choices we make come with consequences; life or death. As far as I can see, no one yet has been able to master death and live forever, but in all actuality, we will all live forever; where, depends on our choice.
Life comes with rules or boundaries as I would like to call them, whether we like it or not; even for us who call our selves Christians; followers of Jesus Christ. This truth goes back as far as the days of Adam in the garden. Genesis 2:15-17 “The Lord God took the man (Adam) and put him into the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God ‘commanded the man’, You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must ‘not’ eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
I truly believe there is no greater place to live in this world than in the United States of America; even with all of the problems we have in America. For those who think otherwise, I would say please find another place to live if you think America is so bad. For those of us who call ourselves true followers of Jesus Christ, we never forget our freedom came with a huge cost, that none of us could ever pay but it also came with its rules or boundaries you might say. Galatians 5:13-14 “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Did you catch the word command? Command means we have been given an order, a direction, a decree, a requirement given by the ‘One’, Jesus Christ, who paid the price, who bought us with His shed blood. Some may say that’s not independence; only rules to follow. To those I would say, that’s real Independence!!!!
Categories: A Pastor's Blog