Thursday, July 06, 2006

Freedom Celebrated

Atop the hill in Washington, D.C. stands the Capitol Building of the United States of America. The cornerstone was laid in 1793, but the crowning touch, is the statue on top known as the “Freedom Lady” that was placed there in 1863. The Freedom Lady, stands nearly 20 feet tall. A crest of stars frames her face. A shield of Stars and Stripes is in her left hand.

Sculpted in Rome, “the Lady” was brought to America aboard a sailing ship. During the trip across the Atlantic Ocean, a fierce storm developed. The Captain ordered cargo thrown overboard to lighten the load. The sailors wanted to throw the heavy statue overboard, but the captain refused, shouting over the wind, “No! Never! We’ll sink before we throw ‘Freedom’ away.” And so, “Freedom” was saved, and the statue stands above the dome today, because one man stood for “Freedom.”

One word sums up America, freedom. America prides itself on her freedom. Yet many Americans have taken for granted their freedom and have forgotten the religious principles that our country was built upon.

As Christians who worship the God who granted our freedom and the many fighting men and women who have defended it there are three things we should do in celebration of freedom.

Rest in what God has done for you.

You can rest in what God has done for you, because of what Jesus has done to make us free. John writes in Revelation 1:5b, 5and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

God is in control over all worldly leaders, and Jesus has set us free. Why worry? There is a lot of talk about the growing super power of China, or the nuclear threat of North Korea or even the latest developments in Iran, but guess what? God offers rests! He is in control.

People are trying more and more to deny the existence of God but the reality is that we wouldn’t have the United States of America if it were not for a group of people who believed in God. One reason why we confess our sins as we gather in worship is to experience this rest that God offers. Freedom is for resting in what God has done for you.

Respond with a life empowered by the Holy Spirit. Understanding freedom is a bit like understanding kite flying. If the wind is strong, the kite goes higher, and grows smaller and smaller as it tugs against the string. The harder the wind blows, the higher the kite rises. Then let’s say the string breaks! The kite is free, but no longer soars higher. It tumbles, and crashes to the ground or becomes tangled in the trees. What kept the kite airborne was the restraint of the string. When that was lost, the kite was unable to fly. We are never freed until we are restrained by something that pulls us higher and higher. It is not the absence of restraints that makes us free.

There is no freedom in life until one belongs to God. Every other form of it is an illusion. We find the freedom to achieve the greatest desires of our lives only when we live in that relationship. The loving life of freedom is lived out wisely as we follow the Holy Spirit in how we live. Paul offers us a life empowered by the Holy Spirit when he writes in Galatians 5:22-23a,

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

We have been freed for resting in what God has done for us and responding with a life empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Reach out by becoming a contagious Christian.

Leviticus 25:10b , proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.

God has the same purpose for our lives today to proclaim liberty throughout the world that is ours through Jesus Christ. Paul reminds us we have a common need for the free gift God gives in Jesus Christ.

Romans 3:22-24,
22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

In a land that is free millions of people are slaves under the burden of their own guilt. Freedom is celebrated because we live in the freest country in the world but everyone, world wide, needs to be able to celebrate their spiritual freedom as well. It’s something that we all need and is available so what are you waiting for?

No comments: