Independence Day, also referred to as the Fourth of July or July Fourth, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. The Continental Congress declared that the 13 American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire. After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision. Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4.
Why did America want to be free of England? They believed they were being treated unfairly. The colonists were effected by tax law with no representatives in Parliament to vote on or discuss these laws. England refused to allow for this and treated America much like the red headed step child that should be seen (or taxed as it were) and not heard.
So, Independence Day is a day to celebrate just that – our independence. To me, it means so much more. I’ve lost people I love to war in other countries. I’ve had countless friends and family members’ lives forever altered because of war and various battles. Whether these battles were fought for America or not…they were all fought for freedom. Each bullet, missile, or IED may not have directly been for my freedom but it was for freedom overall.
Every man, woman, and child has a right to pursue freedom. Every man, woman, and child should have freedom. Unfortunately, they do not. To not have freedom, though, is not God’s will.
“Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” I Peter 2:13-17 NKJV
Or as The Message puts it…
“Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God’s emissaries for keeping order. It is God’s will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you’re a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government.” 1 Peter 2:13-17 MSG
This one passage, along with many others, disproves any theory that God wishes for you to separate your relationship with Him from your political beliefs and actions.
Let’s pause for a moment though and reflect upon one hypothetical question:
How would you celebrate independence if you lived elsewhere, where it was not “one nation under God,” and received freedom as a gift?
Imagine you lived in North Korea where your entire family is starving, to work is mandatory – not a right – there are no wages, and electricity and anything other than rice is only for the elite. Imagine being force-fed that a narcissistic man is your only true god and he only can receive your praises, though he never sees fit to love you and never hesitates to punish you and your entire family, children included. Now how do you celebrate independence?
As a Christian, how would you celebrate suddenly having the freedom to worship God? How would you celebrate being allowed to pray aloud to Him for the very first time in your life? How would you celebrate being not only allowed to own your first Bible but being free to carry it and not hiding it away? How would you feel to walk, amongst other believers – freely, into a house of God to talk about Him, sing to Him, love on Him, and learn about Him?
It kind of makes your complaint about the air conditioning being too cold or the music being too loud in church a little petty. Doesn’t it?
I’m not here to judge. We’ve all taken our freedom for granted. It’s not about kicking ourselves but rather regaining the proper perspective.
We are blessed – SO BLESSED! So, I’m celebrating Independence Day this year by reminding myself of what I’m free of, what I’m free to do, and what I’m free for.
- I’m free of bondage, sin, and oppression.
- I’m free to choose righteousness and to worship the one true God.
- I’m free for Him and Him alone. Whatever He asks of me I will do.
What are you free of?
What are you free to do?
What are you free for?
Follow up questions you may ask yourself:
- Are you voting for representatives that you believe can and will act as “God’s emissaries for keeping order?”
- Are you exercising your freedom by serving God, not breaking rules?
- Are you treating everyone…EVERYONE… you meet with dignity, loving your spiritual family, and revering God?