This week, we celebrate our country’s victorious pursuit of freedom achieved almost 250 years ago. Fourth of July has come to mean barbeque sauce, fireworks, and red, white, and blue. It means parades, picnics, and party poppers. And most importantly, it’s a day that our conversations and prayers can be flooded with themes of freedom and gratitude.
The richest joy you can reap out of Independence Day comes when you treat it as a reminder of something far greater. The patriotic freedom we celebrate is but a taste of the perfect freedom we have as Christ’s followers.
Like a dim mirror, the structures and protections our country has built-in pursuit of freedom can reflect our pursuit of righteousness as Christians, no longer being bound by our sin. Freedom is more than doing what we please. Freedom is better. Freedom is the breaking of chains that bound us to sin and death, and freedom is making Jesus our new light and path (Romans 6:17-18). We are not merely released from our sin into nothingness, to try and fail to live righteously on our own. Jesus provides a new way for us to willingly bind ourselves to (Psalm 54:6). Jesus provided us the ultimate freedom of abundant life.
Indeed, freedom is worthy of celebrating. Gather, laugh, and eat with community this week, and be reminded of the sweetness of freedom. Be reminded of the greatest freedom of all that was gifted to us 2,000 years ago. Remember the work required to cling to freedom. See how people have fought for it. See how you must fight daily to follow the path of freedom (1 Peter 1:13, 5:8).
Let this love for freedom pour into your conversations as you celebrate our country’s independence. Look beyond the past and present — look forward, and hope for freedom on earth as it is in heaven.