This week, as we celebrate the birth of our nation on July 4th we are reminded of the sacrifices of the founding fathers and the freedom that we enjoy. There is a paradox to freedom, that a person can be positionally free but is not practically free. This can been seen in the secular context of life but also in our spiritual lives
We celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence because it was a declaration of freedom from tyranny. Yet, today, while we enjoy the rights and privileges of freedom, many people still live in bondage. This bondage can be an emotional bondage or even financial bondage to debt. I am reminded of all the people living in our great county that have allowed themselves to be kept in bondage by their choices.
The same is also true spiritually. Jesus stated, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”” (John 8:31–32) Freedom, in all areas of our lives, is realized as we embrace truth. I see this as more than just knowing truth, but also as putting it into action. Just because I can borrow money to purchase something does not mean that I should. A person that understands debt and the related consequences can say “NO” to debt. We are reminded in Proverbs, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” (Proverbs 22:7) And the same is true in our spiritual lives.
The lack of knowledge of God’s Word holds us back from experientially realizing the freedom that a believer already has in Jesus. Yes, it begins with knowledge but is only realized when the truth is acted upon. Our greatest struggle, with sin, threatens to keep us in bondage to the pleasures of it. Peter reminds us, “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.” (1 Peter 2:11) We are reminded not only that we are different from those that do not know Christ but that we are at war with our own desires. It is a war that, like the Revolutionary War, will require great determination and sacrifice.
It is time that we who profess Jesus as a Savior, throw off the tyranny of sin that keeps us in bondage. So as we celebrate the Declaration of Independence, I encourage you to first to make a personal Declaration to be Godly. Second, remove the source of temptation that is bringing you down. You probably already know what it is but have been telling yourself lies about it. Third, seek accountability with another person that can ask you the hard questions, pray for you and encourage you. I wonder if our greatest point of weakness is believing that we must do this on our own. I do not see that taught in the Bible. I see God giving us the indwelling Holy Spirit. He provides us with His Word and He provides us with a fellowship of other followers that are fighting the same battle.
God was able to transform our nation through the commitment of it’s people. What would he do through you if you chose to make a Declaration to be Godly.
Happy July 4th
-Pastor Joe Parkinson