Independence and freedom are words that seem to go hand in hand. This is especially true in the United States as evidenced by the 4th of July, also known as Independence Day, which is a national holiday. It is the date in which the Declaration of Independence was formally ratified in 1776 by the founding Fathers of the United States. The document declared the colonies of America to be free and independent from British rule and an independent nation. This Declaration of Independence is all about freedom. The Statue of Liberty in the New York harbor has a famous quote which includes the invitation to those who are “yearning to breathe free.”

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Freedom doesn't come from independence

We, in the US, take our freedom seriously. We have a Constitution that guarantees us certain “rights,” or freedoms. Most wars we fight are for the stated purpose of freedom for some people, somewhere. We are committed to maintaining our personal freedoms in every situation. In fact, the idealized version of the American Dream and the “true, great American,” is a person who has made him or herself successful. Someone who achieved success by themselves, someone who is strong, self-sufficient, and fiercely independent.

These may be good qualities in a general sense, but in reality, this perception is based on fool’s gold. No one achieves freedom through independence. We are mistaken if we measure our freedom by an absence of rules imposed upon us. We recognize this as a nation, and thus we have rules for the governance of our country. The reality for many of us, though, is we chafe at rules which limit us personally. We want to be free to make our own decisions about what impacts our lives. We mistakenly believe complete independence will bring about complete freedom.

Freedom is in christ alone

So, we violate God’s rules for our lives, seeking to live free and be independent. This is the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and we have not learned from their mistake. We make the same mistake and likewise suffer drastic consequences. We desire to be free from God’s design for sexual relations, and suffer the brutal carnage of violence, disease, broken homes, generational curses, emotionally shattered people. We want to be free from God’s command for sobriety, and we suffer loss of health, jobs, families, and even life itself.

We reject God’s parameters for how we should live and relate to others, and we suffer from all manner of crime, as well as everything from racism to bullying in middle school. Absolute independence doesn’t really bring about freedom. True freedom comes when one lives in perfect compliance with the purposes and plans of the Creator. This is possible only through complete surrender to Jesus Christ.

“When the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.”