I was born in America...
I grew up in America...
I have been blessed with some amazing jobs, because I live in America...
In some places, my job would be outlawed and I would be killed... I'm only free to do this job, because I live in America...
I know the good things in life, things that a large percentage of people on this globe will never know... Are all because I live in America...
Today, we celebrate the birth of our country, with all it's flaws and struggles it is still the greatest nation on the face of this earth. I can't imagine living anywhere else. No disrespect to my friends from around the world (all 5 of them), but I love my country.
There is a freedom that this nation, no matter how great or free it is, can offer me...
I must look to another source to find true freedom...
Thousands of years before America was even thought of, a man who walked the earth stated... "...if the Son sets you free, you are truly free." *
This concept can be hard to understand. Especially since those who live here in the USA have so much freedom we can't image more.
But there is more...
For my fellow believers in other countries, countries where they are not allowed to worship and assemble together, they understand this great truth more than many here.
We (ME) can be a little forgetful that freedom here in these United States is costly. That men and women who have given their lives in our military, hundred of thousands of them, put themselves between harm and their families back home on U.S. soil.
But one man, the man who promised this freedom, understands just how costly freedom is.
He knows the true price of sacrifice and commitment. He not only stood between evil and those he loved, he also died for the ones who had been overwhelmed by the evil.
Most of you who are reading this know who I am describing. The one whose words offer freedom.
But, as easily as the name Jesus can roll off our tongues, we can find ourselves giving up that freedom for something of much less value.
Paul, a follower of Jesus, understood how easily we could take freedom and cast it aside.
Knowing our weak wills and our bend towards straying from the path of grace, he penned these words... "Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law." **
It's hard to believe that someone who knows the freedom Jesus offers us would trade it for the bondage of a list of good and bad behaviors. That we'd trade ultimate freedom for a "pick yourself up by the bootstraps" faith.
Despite the many acts of heroism that formed the great nation we live in, no man, not even one, short of the Savior, can give us freedom of the soul, for all eternity. A freedom that bolsters faith here before we enter the hereafter.
Freedom from the drudgery of trying to be good, ALL THE TIME. A life dedicated to saving yourself can become overwhelming and exhausting.
And people like me, men and women who share truth from a pulpit or podium, don't make it any easier. We load others down with all the "stuff".
When the day is done, the well meaning attempt to "set people free" often bring a sense of failure.
Why? None of us are perfect.
Maybe it's time for you to drop the list of "do this and do that" freedom.
Stop trying to go to church enough.
Stop trying to read your Bible and pray enough.
Stop living in bondage to a system of study or a set of rules.
Find freedom in Christ and you'll find the "rules" are miles away. Oh they still exist, but you're not propping up your life with them, hoping to be good enough.
So for this year's "Day of Freedom", let me ask you to trust the one who can not only grace you with living in the "Land of the Free", but can set your heart and soul free.
Won't you consider that?