Last week on July 4th, the United States celebrated Independence Day, the day the Declaration of Independence was approved. In that document, the American colonies of the British empire declared their independence from British rule and authority.
Responsibilities of Freedom
Many, if not most, nations have a similar holiday, a day recognizing a revolution, vote, or decision that led to their nation becoming sovereign and self-governing. People recognize freedom as a right to be fought for and to be celebrated when achieved!
Freedom must come with responsibility, however. When we are ruled by another country, we do what we are told. Our only responsibility is to follow orders. With freedom, there is a new role of responsibility. We must be the decision makers and the executors of those decisions. We are the ones who must think, plan, decide, prioritize, and work. The future is on our shoulders and our decisions and actions must be based on that responsibility.
Limitations of Freedom
As Christians, we should think about this concept. How do we understand the extent and limitations of freedom? There are a few important factors to consider:
First, it is important we understand we do not find freedom from a personal declaration of independence. True freedom comes as we are delivered from the bondage of sin with the understanding that God is the one who delivers us.
Second, God instructs us in our responsibilities of freedom. He says we should not use our freedom as an opportunity to be concerned about ourselves and our desires, but instead, we should serve one another in love (Gal 5:13). In fact, we are told to consider others as more important than ourselves (Phil 2:3). So, we actually find we have been given the gift of freedom to genuinely love and serve others as a gift, not as a result of coercion.
Finally, we see real freedom comes not through independence, but rather through surrenderance.
To be independent of God is to remain a slave. Without Him, we remain in bondage to sin. The chains that hold us cannot be broken by our greatest efforts, nor the efforts of our friends and family. Only Christ can bring us true freedom, and He does so as we surrender our lives into His loving hands. And, when the Son has set you free, you are free indeed……free to live out the responsibilities that come with life, liberty, and the pursuit of true freedom!