Earlier this month we celebrated Independence Day, when our nation declared itself free from tyranny. Since that historical day, citizens of the United States have enjoyed liberties our founders could only imagine. Yet, these freedoms have come at a price. Over the course of history, many have served heroically and unselfishly, some paying the ultimate price of their lives, to maintain independence with liberty and justice for all.
For Christ followers, our “spiritual independence” comes when we acknowledge that Jesus Christ, the one God-man, paid the ultimate sacrifice for our reconciliation back to the Father. Jesus is the once-and-for-all sacrifice; the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. With His body and shed blood, Jesus paid for our spiritual independence.
In Christ, we are set free from sin and eternal death – that’s the good news of the gospel. Yet, Christians are called to live in tension because of our liberties. The apostle Peter warns us not to use our freedom to do evil, but to do good (1 Peter 2:16). Paul challenges us to put others’ interests ahead of our own – humbling ourselves by having the same mindset as that of Christ (Philippians 2:1-5). However, the voice of our culture is to demand our rights with little regard of how doing so would impact others. The result? Self-love overrides selfless love. Our liberties become the focus and we lose sight of Jesus as the model of serving others (Philippians 2:5-8). Sadly, if it’s all about us the opportunity to win others or to bring glory to God is lost.
Each new day is an opportunity to express thanksgiving for the freedoms we’ve inherited. As you continue to celebrate the summer months, I encourage you to pause to reflect on how you use your freedom – are you demonstrating a self-love by demanding your rights or a selfless love that reflects the actions of Jesus and brings glory to God?
- Deneen McDonald (US Director of COBI)