We’re celebrating freedom today. Cook outs, parades, fireworks, red-white-and-blue. The whole country has come out for the party.
But how many of us proud-to-be-Americans are actually living in freedom?
Yes, we can go to any church what we want. We can buy anything we feel like. We can say whatever we want (within reason, of course.) We can travel when we want and name our children whatever sounds best and then raise them as equally independently. We’re citizens of the land of the free, after all.
But is anyone actually living in freedom?
Because who is truly free when they live in fear of the future? When they are nervous to state their opinion? When they cower behind pretenses and cover their real selves with make-up, degrees, six-figure incomes, and ideal homes? Are any of us American dreamers actually experiencing the so-called freedom we shoot firecrackers off in honor of?
Freedom doesn’t begin externally. No amount of democracy, independence, or citizen rights will make someone free. Not truly.
Freedom is born internally, or not at all.
Freedom is made when an individual decides they will not be held back by borders or laws or social norms. When they decide that no external pressure, no regulation, no political party, and no country’s policies will dictate who they become. Freedom happens when they choose to walk unhindered by what people think of them, when they choose to run and dance and sing regardless of how they’ll be perceived. These are the ones who are truly free.
Freedom is made when an individual decides they will open their heart and soul up to the Spirit of God.
It isn’t about where you’re born. It isn’t about who is presiding over you, who is crafting your amendments, who is representing your nation. It isn’t about your nominee, it is about your God.
Freedom is about the one who rules your heart, not your nation.
The prisoner sitting in jail in North Korea, the martyr facing death, the pastor watching his church destroyed – they can be more free than the American agonizing over her appearance for Sunday morning and the nominal Christian trying to fit in with an atheistic culture.
So light those blackcats, twirl your sparklers. Indulge in a flag-frosted cake and put another patty on the grill. Be proud of your country, but don’t forget that freedom is not based on the country you call home but in the God that you serve.
And where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
– 2 Corinthians 3:17