This is reprinted from a piece I wrote in 2007… I’ve updated a few things:
It is 11:00pm on July 4. The family cookout is over, the last of the fireworks have been sent into the air (much to the neighbors delight) and everyone has gone home…and for the first time in my life I find myself truly contemplating the meaning of this day. It’s not about the fireworks or the food; it’s about something much deeper…Independence. And I’m not just talking about this nation’s declared indendence from the British Crown 233 years ago…but about our independence in every aspect of life; especially spiritual independence.
Look at the first part of our Declaration of Independence, “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
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. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Clearly the governing forces over the colonies had become destructive and the people had the right to abolish that tie. Fast forward to 2009. Are we truly free? I know I’m not. I am bound to my sins, my hang-ups, my addictions, my destructive behaviors. And I think if you’re honest you are bound to something destructive as well…a secret sin? anger? depression? an addiction? gossip? whatever it may be we are all bound by something. Where is the freedom in that?
Suddenly, what they did in 1776 makes a lot more sense to me. They were slaves to a destructive force that was only using them. They wanted freedom. Yes, they did have to fight a long war to gain that freedom in the end, but ultimately our battle has already been fought. The battle was won 2,000 years ago on a hill called Calvary. Read Paul’s words to the Romans “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death,” (Romans 8:1-2). Whoa, back up the happy train here! Are you trying to say that I don’t have to be a slave to my sins and whatever else is holding me back from true life? Yes, that’s what he’s saying!!! God says that we don’t have to be slaves any longer, we can live a life of freedom and, yes, INDEPENDENCE from those things!
Wow, what a promise! Let it be known that on this day, July 4, I officially declare that I am no longer a slave to the destructive things in my life! I choose to live a life of freedom in Christ….no chains to hold me back! Will you join me on this road to freedom?
Happy Independence Day, indeed!