Saturday night, I took my dad and sister to a Fourth of July celebration at a local church. As I sat with family and friends, munching on chili dogs and watermelon awaiting the fireworks display, I thought about a local newscast I had watched the previous day.
The reporter had been walking along the beachfront interviewing people about the upcoming holiday. I was shocked as to how many adults didn’t know the history behind the Fourth of July. Most people knew that they were celebrating independence, but when they were asked, “What does that mean?” “Who or what did we get independence from?” the reporter was often met with blank stares.
I couldn’t believe that these Americans were unaware that July Fourth is about the birth of our nation and our independence from Great Britain. Did they not know that the freedoms they now enjoy are possible because others fought and laid down their lives? Are they unaware of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776? The declaration that gave the citizens of our then fledgling nation the right to worship and to prosper economically. How could they not know this?
As my questions (more like judgements) continued to run through my head, I wondered how people, namely Christians, would have answered, had the reporter’s questions been directed toward Sunday celebrations instead of July Fourth.
“‘I see you are at church. Are you celebrating freedom? If so, What does that mean? What did you get freedom from? What are the benefits of your freedom?”
Sad to say, there were many years when I probably would have responded to those types of questions with a blank stare.
I believed Jesus died for everyone’s sins and I hoped I would make it into heaven, But I had little understanding concerning the cost He paid. I had no idea that the declaration of His shed blood permanently liberated me from the penalty of sin, and made me God’s adopted child as well as giving me a brand new life.
As I looked at the crowd surrounding me, I wondered how many others regularly sit or stand in church services celebrating good music and great sermons, instead of Jesus and the freedom that we have in Christ. Do they, like I once did, shout “Hallelujah! or sing songs of about Jesus setting them free, while being unaware of what they have been set free from or of the benefits of that freedom?
Sitting in my lawn chair, I could hear worship music playing in the background. And as I watched bathing suit clad children scaling the climbing wall, whirling around on rides, and sliding down blown up slides, I thanked the Lord that I was free to worship and to prosper, not just a a U.S. citizen but also as a child of God.
May we all daily celebrate the freedom we have in Christ!
“So if the son sets you free, you are truly free” John 8:36 (NLT).
Have a beautiful blessed day!