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Thursday, July 4, 2013

4th of July and Freedom: Has it changed your life?

Free At Last…

This is the time we celebrate Independence Day here in the United States, but it is more than a celebration about gaining independence from England so many years ago, it has become the day we also celebrate freedom itself.  Freedom of speech (at least, most of the time), freedom to choose where we live, what careers we choose, freedom to travel, freedom to move to a new location…freedom to decide for ourselves in every area of our lives.  Of course, all freedom also comes with responsibilities, and is preserved at a price, preserved with diligence.   We are free, but not free to kill another person, at least, not without suffering the consequences.  Because freedom is not the same as anarchy.  Each generation has the obligation to preserve the freedom we enjoy in order to pass it on to future generations, and those of us celebrating freedom today owe a great debt to the countless individuals from the past who, sometimes at great personal cost, protected the freedom we have inherited.

Divorce brings a great deal of devastation in its wake, but for some, it can also mean freedom:  freedom from the beatings and abuse one has suffered, freedom to express oneself without being put down or ridiculed by an emotionally abusive spouse, freedom to change life directions with a new career path or a new location.  The losses created in divorce are, to some degree, counterbalanced by the freedom to pursue God’s calling and gifts in your life. In some cases, divorce allows themselves free to finally worship and serve God the way they always wanted to, but had been constrained by an unbelieving spouse.  But again, freedom comes with responsibility.  Paul tells us in Galatians 5:13 that we are not to use our freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but to serve one another in love.  The temptation to abuse freedom often overwhelms individuals who are divorced, sometimes cutting loose in inappropriate and unhealthy ways that lead to new heartaches, destruction and alienation from God.  I wonder, for those of you who have been divorced, if you have been wise in using your freedom in ways that draws you closer to God and brings honor to him. 

But most of all, true freedom has to do with the freedom that is given to us by Christ as we are delivered from the tyranny of sin in our lives through forgiveness, justification and redemption.  Sin enslaves those caught in it, even though they may declare they can quit at any time, or that they aren't doing their sins because they have to, but because they choose to do these things for their own gratification.  But in their case, the truth is, freedom has been sold to the mastery of sin and they are deceived as to the direction it is leading them.  There is ALWAYS a price to pay, sin is never free.  But freedom in Christ means being free from the power and penalty of sin to be free to be all God has created and desired us to be. 

Well, as you observe or participate in the celebration of freedom this 4th of July, take time to cherish the freedoms you have, to pray for those whose lives and countries have constrained the freedom of their citizens, and to examine whether you are using you’re the freedom Christ offers to live your live in a manner that pleases God and to revel in the joy life with God can bring. 

TL:dr: Fourth of July freedom is experienced by divorced individuals in a whole different manner. 

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