By Weldon Tisdale, Chaplain
July 4, 1776 was the greatest and most important date for the United States of America. It is the day the original 13 colonies declared their independence from the British Empire and became independent states. It is the date we celebrate, annually, as “July 4th – Independence Day.” For enslaved Africans there was no such celebration until the final slaves were freed in Texas on June 19, 1865, more than two-and-a-half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. A day we now know and celebrate as “Juneteenth.”
As we celebrate our independence and freedom, we must also remember that more than 2000 years ago believers were set free from sin by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. Given these facts, we all have great reason to celebrate our varied freedoms. However, freedom has its limits. We are limited by the laws of the land, the laws of nature, the laws of morality and the Word of God.
Paul records in Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” (NKJV) It was for freedom that Christ set us
free, but… Paul also tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:12, “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial.’ I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.” (NIV)
In other words, though I have the right, freedom, and independence to do anything, not everything I choose to do is beneficial, safe, moral or good for me. While Paul is dealing primarily with the
types of food being eaten and sexual immorality, the overarching theme covers our entire existence.
Though our lives can be lived independently, we each should follow the guidelines outlined in the Word of God to manage our lives for His glory. Each of us should also erect guardrails to limit our access to unlawful and harmful thoughts, actions, activities, and behaviors.
In the final analysis, our independent existence is totally dependent on a loving and all-powerful God. We must recognize as we celebrate Independence Day that independence and freedom has its limits. And though Jesus secured our freedom more than 2000 years ago, I believe that He desires us to live Independently, Dependent – upon Him.