Independence Day: Focusing on Freedom in Christ
I recently read an online article featuring four ways the July 4th holiday can be like the freedom we have in Christ, so I thought I would share it with you. It’s written by Jason Inman, Director of Next Steps Content at Life.Church in Oklahoma (and it’s totally a coincidence that we at GFC also call the program here “Next Steps,” which is for those who want to become more involved in the life of our local church through groups, serving, membership, etc.). Anyway, I hope this quick read helps you press on while we both endure trials and enjoy our freedoms, those that are earthly and those that only Christ can give.
4 Ways July 4th Can Be Like Freedom in Christ
July 4th reminds me of freedom in Christ. I promise, this isn’t some smelly mixture of patriotism and Christianity. I just think there’s some powerful imagery in Independence Day. Let me explain.
First, why does America celebrate the 4th of July? Something about apple pie, explosions in the sky, baseball games, and BBQ flames, right? No. On July 4, 1776, thirteen colonies in North America decided they were done paying their taxes and over their allegiance to the King of England. Colonial leaders got together to write the Declaration of Independence and then sign it into being. The Revolutionary War had already begun, but this was a statement of unity and determination to gain freedom from England’s rule. You might recognize this portion:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
– The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
So, here are 4 reasons July 4th reminds me of freedom In Christ.
- It’s a gift. For all living Americans, July 4th is a gift. We didn’t earn it—we received it from the people who lived, led, and died to fight for it. Everyone who gets a gift has two questions. First, “Who is it from?” Second, “What does it do?” My freedom in Christ is from Jesus. I didn’t earn it. He died for it. That’s who it’s from, but what does it do? Galatians 5:1 reminds me, it’s for freedom we’ve been set free. What does my freedom do? Give more freedom. It’s freedom for me, my marriage, my kids, my friends, my co-workers, and my neighbors. I was given this gift to share.
- It’s a mid-war declaration. July 4, 1776 came only about a year after the revolutionary war began and about six years before it would finally end. Yet, it’s the single most revered day of American history. This reminds me of battles we face. You may be fighting for your marriage, struggling financially, or just trying to raise godly kids. Either way, it may be time to make a mid-war declaration of your freedom in Christ.
- It’s a celebration of restoration. Remember apple pie, explosions in the sky, baseball games, and BBQ flames? All to celebrate liberty once lost—but now found. Humans love to celebrate finding lost things because we were made in God’s image, and God parties big for restoration. Jesus told a story about this called the Prodigal Son. When the son came home, the Father killed his best cow and threw a party (Luke 15:11-24). Jesus even suggests angels celebrate in heaven when someone discovers freedom in Christ (Luke 15:10). And what happens when we all meet Jesus? A glorious supper (Revelation 19:16-17).
- It’s united. The Declaration of Independence was written by thirteen different colonies, but within the document, they are called “we.” “We hold these truths to be self-evident …” Jesus set you and me free as individuals, but we live out this freedom as His Church. One body with many parts (1 Corinthians 12:1-27). When your “I” becomes “we,” it’s amazing what we can accomplish.