My dad was a junior officer in the United States Navy during World War II. He served in active duty aboard the USS Howard F. Clark, a destroyer escort, in the Pacific Ocean. He was proud of his service and I was proud of him.
Several decades later, he and my mom would go to his annual Navy Reunions. He would meet up with his old shipmates from the war and they would swap stories like it happened only the day before. I was fortunate enough to go to many of those reunions with them, until the early 2000s, when too many of “the greatest generation” we’re dying off and their numbers or health had grown too thin.
Funny thing about those men and their wives; it did not matter how they got there, it did not matter where their political views were, and it did not matter what their family culture was. What mattered, was they were all fighting a common enemy for a greater common cause. FREEDOM.
Freedom from Nazism, Totalitarianism, crimes against humanity, and injustice. Freedom from a rapidly encroaching oppressive force whose goal was to destroy Freedom itself.
This Fourth of July let us be truly grateful for the sacrifices of those who have gone before us and for those who fight for freedom today. It is a never-ending battle.
And while we are thinking about our FREEDOMS in the United States of America, let us remember that we would have NO FREEDOM AT ALL if Jesus Christ had not paved the way and had come to set us FREE from this world.
Galatians 5:1 says,
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (NIV).
Jesus Christ did not come to merely set us free as a people, but He came to FREE ALL PEOPLE from everything that would rob us of a relationship with our Heavenly Father. And, surpassing this life, Jesus came to set us free from the bondage of sin and rebellion so that we can enter the Gates of Heaven as FREE Children of God.
Jesus has also given us our Freedom from from the bondage and slavery of pain, addiction, and old wounds. He has given us Freedom from ego, from pride, and from division.
And here’s the kicker… when Jesus gave us our Freedom, He EXPECTED US to rally together for the COMMON CAUSE of Worshipping and Praising God. Like my dad’s shipmates, Jesus didn’t care that we had created divisions among ourselves around politics, culture, and social strata… NO! HE set us FREE from those divisions and EXPECTS His followers to Band Together, to resolve our differences, and go forward as a united front that will Speak His Name into politics, culture, and across social strata with a SINGULAR MESSAGE:
…that Jesus Christ is Lord, and He has bought our Freedom into Heaven to be cared for and loved by Almighty God our Father.
On this Fourth of July, let us THANK GOD for our Freedoms as a Nation and work to be a UNITED States of America, not a Divided States of America. And let us mostly THANK GOD for our true FREEDOM IN CHRIST JESUS.
Happy 4th of July, everyone. Praise Jesus and stay safe!
God bless you all, and we hope to see you Sunday!