As we celebrate of the 4th of July each of us will consider the purchase price of our liberty. Hundreds of thousands of America’s finest folks have offered their service, and often their lives, to provide innumerable and immeasurable freedoms:
- To worship as we choose
- To believe as we choose (or have been chosen to, depending on your view of Romans 8, Ephesians 1, and Acts 13:48). Yes, I had to put that theological jab in there. But, it was designed to nudge you to read those verses, and think on them.
- To raise our children as we choose
- To own property, a home, a Bible, and your own thoughts, to clip your fingernails in pubic (please don’t!), to post your events on FaceBook, to pierce or tattoo your whatever, and such.
Those macro freedoms are offered to us all, for now. While they are grand, much of the greatest enjoyment comes in the specific application of them in your life. Here are some examples from my weekend:
- The building excitement of carrying on our family traditions on Independence Day: the kids’ all day swim-fest, grilling hamburgers and hot dogs, Dairy Queen ice cream, and watching the local fireworks display. And, getting a little moist in the eyes at some, or several, points during the day.
- The joy of spending a couple of shirt-soaking hours picking purple-hulled peas with my dad, talking about our jobs, and enjoying stories from years past.
- The restfulness of reading: the Bible, the poetry of Wendell Berry (A Short Porch is a new collection of his “Sabbath Poems”), Arkansas Sportsman magazine, and Mayflower (an account of the Pilgrims dream of and journey to America).
Each of those moments cascade from the many freedoms that we enjoy as Americans.
There are those in our culture who want to change that. They seek to redefine our freedoms in order to conform them to their purposes and views. Know this, their redefining of freedoms is an attempt at reducing them. We will sway with them or succumb to them only if we allow it. While subtle and invisible, the struggle against this is real, and fierce. Without a doubt, our current cultural conflict is a spiritual one. So, what better way to combat the “redefining” of our culture than with eternal truth?
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
Notice in Galatians 5:1 that Paul gives Christ-followers a trio of tested truths to grasp to as they grapple for spiritual, and cultural, liberty:
- Christ Himself has set us free. It is a precious freedom from the power of sin and full pardon for our sin.
- His followers have to “stand firm” in order to retain this freedom. There are pressures and powers within us (our sinful nature) and outside of us (the world, its ways, and the enemy) that will lie to and lure us away from the truth, the life, and freedom that He brings (John 8:32 and 10:10, you know the drill, look them up and read them).
- The way our liberty is lost and we are enslaved again is by us allowing it to happen. We have the power of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit to correct and keep us.
What’s the point of the previous 550 words? In summary: as Christians, and citizens of the United States, we enjoy rich spiritual liberty in Christ, and daily freedoms as Americans, if we forgo the spiritual freedom then we will certainly forfeit the cultural ones. Believe it or not, reading your Bible each day, spending time in prayer, recognizing what God is doing in your life, and appreciating the joys and liberties that you experience are a firm defense against losing them. A great enemy to each of God’s gifts is not our opponent’s onslaught against them, it is your indifference to them.
Our society is at the gates, jangling the chains of submission. You have the sword of truth and shield of faith, what will you do?