Celebrating Freedom

by Lee Buford on July 4, 2011

Today is a day for the celebration of freedom. Across America most of us will gather with family and friends to eat (way too much), shoot fireworks, and have a great time of fun and fellowship. But it’s most important that we remember one thing:

Freedom is anything but free.

Freedom, as celebrated in American culture, is too often viewed from the perspective of what is rightfully owed those of us who call this great nation “home”. We mistakenly look at what’s “rightfully ours” and fail to understand the real reason for our ability to enjoy the freedoms we get to experience.

First, freedom is a gift from God, not a right or an achieved status earned on our part. Much like our freedom from death, sin, and eternal wrath, God has chosen by His good grace to bless our Nation beyond what we could ever merit or deserve. But this freedom came with high cost: the blood of Jesus Christ.

We should give thanks for the many men and women who serve and/or have served in our military forces, for their efforts and sacrifices have been a tool and vehicle of God’s grace and mercy in our nation’s freedom. But we must not lose sight of the fact that many men and women have given their lives to the same service and made the same sacrifice for an end result far less appealing than what we call “freedom”. We must be grateful for what God has chosen to allow us as Americans.

Finally, in responding rightly to God’s grace we must not forget that our freedom requires something of as well. How are we responding to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission? Is our worship consistent with a nation and a people who are truly thankful for the God-given freedoms we possess? We’re quick to protest when “One nation, under God” is omitted from our Pledge of Allegiance, or when prayer in schools is forbidden, but are our actions and lives consistent with a free people who worship God according to the measure of His goodness and grace bestowed upon us?

Ultimately freedom comes with a responsibility, and it’s not to recognize and celebrate our so-called “rights” once a year with a cookout and some fireworks. Give thanks for God’s loving grace and mercy upon an undeserving people, and for the freedoms we have as a result.

But not for that grace we would have nothing to celebrate.

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