Fourth of July is always a time of celebration here in America. It usually consists of gathering with friends or family, picnics, fun and then some fireworks in the evening. We have made it into a fun holiday but we should never forget the weight of the day, on July 4th, 1776. The thirteen colonies had endured increasing hardship and oppression from the Kingdom of Great Britain. The government and leadership of the colonies had decided that they and the people they represented were no longer going to live under that oppression. With Thomas Jefferson’s writing we now have the famous Declaration of Independence. These men took a stand and had vision of a future of being free. They were not yet free and their freedom would come at a great cost but they had vision and had made a choice that freedom was their future.
We too, have a Father and Savior who sees our oppressed lives and have done something about it. Acts 13:38-39 (NIV) says, “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.” Through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you! Proclaimed is translated from the Greek to mean to declare plainly, openly, or aloud. Jesus has openly declared our justification or freedom for all of us who believe.
However, what about those areas in our life that we are still bound? The addictions that we can’t overcome; the life-controlling problems that are derailing our dreams. We love Jesus but not everything has been transformed. Maybe there are areas we refuse to grow and change and they become a hindrance to the purposes God has prepared in advance for us to do. We find ourselves making excuses and want a quick fix. Forgetting that freedom will never be found in the quick, easy fix. Freedom always has and always will come at a cost. Freedom will only come by getting fed up of the old way of life, the addiction, the life-controlling problem, the weight of the oppression and burden of wrong choices made and the consequences that have come as a result. Each of us must decide to declare freedom over areas that the enemy has long oppressed us in.
Declaring freedom over an area in our lives is deciding that we are no longer going to live by the flesh. We can’t become free until we decide that we need to be freed in the first place. We need the Holy Spirit to awaken us from our slumber and realize that we are not meant to be a slave to any work of our sinful nature. In John 8:34-36 (NIV) we read, “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” The truth is Jesus has set us free but we must choose to walk in that freedom. Think of a criminal in prison. They have been found guilty and are serving a sentence for their crime. They have even confessed to the crime. While serving their sentence, the judge decides to set the prisoner free early. The guard approaches the cell and unlocks the door and declares that the judge has set him free. What if the prisoner refuses to believe the guard’s declaration and remains in the cell? All the while, hoping and dreaming of the day when he serves his time and is free. Everything has been set in place for him to walk out that day but he refuses to walk in freedom.
How might we be like that prisoner? Jesus has set us free but we need choose to walk in that freedom. We will have to be willing to make the hard choices. The choices to deny our flesh, to walk closely with Jesus, to remain in His Word. We may have to reach out for accountability and help and support. Never forget that Jesus died for your freedom and He longs for you to walk and experience that freedom. He has sent the Holy Spirit to lead you and empower you; to enable you and strengthen you. When you are weak; He is strong. Always remember, “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.” Galatians 5:1 (NIV) Declare your freedom, fight for your freedom and guard your won freedom in Christ.