I used to love the 4th of July, especially as a child, the firecrackers, sparklers and especially the huge boom and explosions, of sound and the flash of the lights, from the big fireworks display in town. Well, that part has changed, Iraq took some of that from me, the explosions and the smell of the burning powder in the fireworks are potent reminders of a less than wonderful time in my life. But, that is not the Independence Day of which I wish to write. Oh, I am patriotic, I have over 20 years in the military so, yeah, I am very patriotic and have done a lot for this country and all the citizens, but as I said, I have a different kind of Independence I wish to discuss today.
Today, as the country celebrates Independence Day, I plan to celebrate too. BUT, I will be celebrating my independence from sin, hate, bitterness, anger, and all the other negative aspects of the world. I plan to celebrate the independence, redemption and salvation that Christ gave me when He was crucified and then rose 3 days later. THAT is the independence we all should be celebrating. Freedom from the things that bind us to the world, all the negative emotions and actions that separate us from God. I am free from Satan’s grip on my life.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Galations 5:1
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:17
I am also free of those filled with hate, those who would use me, mistreat me, lie to me, judge me unfairly, criticize, gossip or in any other way treat me or act towards me in any way that is not Christ like. Those of this world that are so filled with self hate, hate of the world, hate of anyone and everyone they cannot control or use, those who would drag others down in order to feel good about themselves or in any other way choose to do wrong to others and in so doing, allow Satan to come into their lives. As for those who would try to drag me down, who slander me and mistreat me, I forgive them, I love them with the love of Christ and I pray for them, that they may too be free of the hate that they carry for themselves and for others. I have my freedom, my independence of the burdens of carrying around anger and hurt due to the acts of others, free of the concern about the wrongly placed hatred due to lies of others. I am free of those burdens because Christ gives me forgiveness and I give forgiveness to others. I am free because He freed me. He made me a partaker of Himself, I must only hold onto my faith and be steadfast and dedicated to Him.
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end Hebrews 3:14
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
12 Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,
13 At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.
14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Lord, I thank You for my independence from sin, from the burden of all the negative emotions brought on by my sins and those of others against me and from the burden of carrying around the anger caused by them, from the frustrations of trying to make my own path, from worry about my future. All those things have been given to Christ, He has paid for my freedom, my independence, my salvation. I praise You Lord for all You are and all You do. I pray in Jesus name that You continue to Your work in me, help me learn to seek Christ, help me better serve Him and help others have the independence You have given me. I ask that You draw all my loved one to You and give them the desire to have the same freedom from sin. Help me be a better example of You and the difference You make.
I hope all have a blessed and safe 4th of July. I also hope that you are able be a blessing to at least one other person today.