Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Freedom, Liberties, and Independence...Day

With July 4th being tomorrow, there is so much hype in this country. Sales are right around the corner at tons of stores, families and neighbors and friends all gathering for bbq's, grills are being gassed up and lit, bottle rockets are flying, and [hopefully] somewhere fireworks are being set off (I say "hopefully" because most counties in the state of IN have placed firework bans because of the extreme dry conditions).

We, as Americans, take this one day specifically as a time to celebrate our freedoms and liberties of living in the United States. I understand the importance of having one day to focus on such a right and gather to celebrate. There's something to say about the unity of all coming together to honor the same principle. In no way am I saying that having a specific day to celebrate is wrong! But, I started thinking today how many of us probably take those freedoms and liberties for granted. Why do we only pause this one specific day to recognize all that we have as Americans? We should do it more often! And why not? Who doesn't like a good party with family and friends?

Then I began thinking some more...about freedoms, liberties, and independence...and being a Christian. We have July 4th as a day to celebrate these ideals as Americans, but what about having one specific day in which we take time and focus on our freedoms, liberties, and independence that we receive by becoming a Christian?  There is no day for that - no day in which we all gather together and grill out or light up the sky with dynamite to show our honor and appreciation towards Christ. Sure, some would say we do that every week at church - but I'm talking about a celebration; a party! How many of us take these values of being a Christian for granted?

  • Freedom: Jesus died for us so that we could be free - free of sin and free to live in an eternal life with Him. 
  • Liberty: Just believing in Christ is a liberty we choose. 
  • Independence: Well, those of us who are believers all got to that point at different times and stages of our lives. It was an independent experience, and will continue to be. Each of has a unique journey.
What better way to celebrate independence, than that of the day each of us chose to surrender our lives over to Him? Wouldn't it be cool if we each had our own Independence Day? We would celebrate the day we submitted our lives to Christ and let Him lead. It would be the day we admitted to ourselves, to Him, and to others that He has control of our lives and we don't. Light up the fireworks - draw words in the air with sparklers - and eat a lot of hot dogs and brownies - Let freedom ring! For I am declaring myself a Christian! Doesn't that sound awesome?!?! (Now, I'm still on my path to getting to this point, but let me tell you - I cannot wait for that day, and surely, I should probably throw a party when that day comes!) 

When it comes down to being a Christian and what's truly important in our lives, where is the focus usually at between these two "Independence Days"? What do we celebrate more? Being a free and independent nation? Or being a free and independent Christian? For which one do we throw a big party and gather and celebrate with loved ones? 

I don't want to underestimate or downplay the independence of our country - it surely deserves much celebration and recognition. It is important for us as Americans to honor our country and the freedoms we have! I'm simply proposing something to think about. 

I think it's safe to say that our Founding Fathers had something in mind when they decided on the sayings, "In God We Trust" and "One Nation Under God," to be present in and on so many important pieces of American history and literature. 

With that, I will leave you with this prayer: 

Lord, thank you for allowing us the rights and liberties we have as Americans in this country. Thank you for all those who have fought to protect us over the years and continue to do so. Please watch over all those celebrating the 4th of July and keep everyone safe. Lord, please help myself and others to recognize the importance of our own, personal independence days and help us each to see that day should also be one of celebration. In all, I pray that each American and Christian take time out not only tomorrow, but throughout the year, to be thankful for and appreciate all the freedoms, liberties, and independence we have as both living in this great country and being a believer in You. Amen. 

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