Today we celebrate freedom in the United States. We like freedom. Freedom is great! Many have given their lives to protect our freedom for which I am grateful. I did a quick search on books about freedom, and there is a library of them:
There are books about financial freedom, emotional freedom, freedom in health and wealth, freedom from attitudes, habits and self-destructive behaviors. Freedom in relationships. Freedom from addictions. Freedom from guilt, shame, blaming. Freedom to forgive. Freedom to pursue our dreams. Freedom.
We value it personally. I value freedom. That is why I never really liked religion. It was a bunch of do’s and dont’s. A list of rules I had to follow. Far from giving me freedom, it felt like a moral straight jacket.
I have experienced something surprisingly different with Jesus. Would it surprise you that Jesus came to announce liberty and freedom, to open the prison to all who are bound? Does it blow your mind that Jesus came not to judge and condemn, but to announce grace and the Lord’s favor towards us? Give them roses instead of ashes, messages of joy instead of doom, a thankful heart instead of a faint spirit? Not just freedom, but comfort to those who mourn, care for their needs and heal the broken? (Read it here). That was all a surprise to me! And this is exactly what so many in our world need right now. The families of the victims of the Pulse shooting in Orlando need it. The families of victims in Istanbul Turkey airport bombing need it. The families of the 14 drowned kids in Karelia, Russia need it. The veterans with PTSD and their families need it. Girls sold into human trafficking and sex slavery desperately need it. People all over the world need freedom, comfort, care and healing.
We all need it because we are all human and suffer frailty, brokenness and loss. We all need it because we thought life would have been kinder to us; that we would be further down the road and a little better by now. More loving and less petty. More kind and less resentful. Kinder to ourselves and others and little critical and harsh. More grace and less guilt. More feelings of competency and adequacy and less feelings of shame and not being enough.
We need all that. We need freedom. I need freedom. I need Jesus.
One of the greatest military commanders and kings of all time was a man named David. He needed freedom and everything that comes with it. He exclaimed,
“I run the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.”
“I will walk at liberty, for I seek your precepts.”
David, like you and me often found himself imprisoned by his selfish ways. He learned that true freedom is not found in doing what I want, when I want it; true freedom comes by yielding to God’s way.
Happy 4th of July everyone. Freedom!
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