Where the Fight for Freedom is Won

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It’s hard to believe that we’re coming up on yet another celebration of America’s freedom! As with most holidays, it provides a fresh opportunity for appreciation of what we tend to under-appreciate in the midst of our busy, thriving lives.

This fourth of July, however, my thoughts are centered on more than just the blessing of freedom. Mostly because I still encounter so many people every day who are obviously not free. I know we live in a “free country” and have the “freedom” to exercise certain rights and privileges which suit our individual preferences, but somehow those rights have led us into slavery, rather than liberty. Somehow we have gotten away from the vision once held by those who dreamt of our freedom.

When I can take a walk through the downtown streets of my city and see people suffering and wasting away because of addiction, I hesitate to believe we are free. When one man’s free choice leaves a woman and her children abandoned and left to fend for themselves – and this becomes more and more normal, I cannot qualify his “freedom” as a gift – not for her, and not even for him. When people run from place to place in a mad rush to accomplish their own desires or duties, without regard to how it affects the people they rush past and shove aside, I fear we know very little of the freedom that is supposed to build a better society, not tear it down.

Sure, we have the ability to pick up and move on to anything we’d like, at any time we feel we’d like to. We have options aplenty to pacify our fleeting desires. But real freedom makes you want to stay and build, not run and abandon.  And real freedom makes others long for what you have, not become embittered because of it. Real freedom makes room for others to build hope upon, rather than leaving them disillusioned and disgusted.

Because real freedom frees man from the tyranny of himself, and leads him into community with others. Those who live for only their own pleasures, who pursue only their own happiness, never find the gift of connection which freedom was intended to bring. In selfish pursuit, freedom gives way to self-induced bondage. But in selfless community, freedom opens us up to each other and frees us to live in harmony and grow together. Then, freedom becomes something worth fighting for, and we don’t waste our energy fighting each other, but rather the enemy which longs to keep us disconnected and living in the illusion of freedom, rather than the reality of it.

Think about it: have you ever seen someone who is truly free? Free from fear, free from worry, free from the compulsions to do what they know will bring harm to themselves or others. Free from destructive cycles. Free from habits that induce shame and condemnation. Free from the opinions of others. Free from insecurity. Don’t we admire people who live like that? And don’t we wonder how they got that freedom?? Doesn’t it make us believe in the possibilities of it for our own lives? Don’t we hunger for a taste of it ourselves?

I do.

As another anniversary of my nation’s heritage draws near, I marvel at the sacrifice it required, and I am compelled to take a fresh look at the battlefield of my own freedom. No doubt it was not an easy war which our forefathers fought and won, but fight and win they did. What, I wonder, drove them on in their battle? What was it that ultimately caused their victory to become sure?

I submit to you that it was the vision they held in their hearts of a free land, the vision which has become a long-cherished and often debated document: the constitution of our United States. It was penned in their hearts long before it was penned on paper, I am certain. The men who led the troops into battle and became willing to die for what they dreamt of believed in something that was already written on their hearts. That’s why they fought. And empowered by the grace of the God in whom they put their trust, that is why they won.

It isn’t much different in our own lives, in our own fight for freedom. We, too, have something written on our hearts. It is the Word of the God Who gave His life to set us free. When we placed our faith in Him, He gave us a new heart, which came stocked with His plans and His dreams and His desires for us. Those plans, dreams, and desires equate to a freedom we could never secure for ourselves. Nevertheless, it is a freedom we are called to live, and a battle must be fought and won for the continual realization of it. That battle is won is on the ground of faith, in believing and standing upon that which has been written – in our hearts and in His Word.

Nearly every battle, I’m sure, faces the David and Goliath moment. Someone will always be bigger, stronger, and more threatening than we feel. We go in knowing instinctively that someone will lose – at the cost of their own freedom, and often at the cost of others’ as well. And someone will win, securing a victory which is hopefully about more than their own moment of glory. But if we belong to God through Christ Jesus, we are destined for victory in every battle we face. Freedom is our inheritance. And we must go in knowing this.

We must believe it. We must know that His power in us is enough, as we enter the fight. We must set our hope on the fact that He has already won, and the war is already over. We are just going in to collect the evidence. What this amounts to is a battle which takes place in the heart and mind. Unfortunately, what we feel often overrides what we know to be true, and that is our weak point. That is where the fight is often lost. Much like the forefathers of our nation, you and I must choose to believe in what we cannot see, until it becomes our reality.

Dear Woman of Breakthrough, what is the territory in which you are fighting for your freedom? Can you believe today that freedom has already been won for you? That Jesus’ death and resurrection has had the final word, and that you are destined to overcome? Can you, in faith, plant your flag in the soil where you stand, and begin to dream with God of what will be built there because you dared to believe?

It is my great passion to see people come into the promise of true liberty. I have tasted and I have seen that it’s possible, as we believe God to bring us into it. May you have the faith to fight and win, armed with the Word of His promise, today and every day. And may you have, therefore, much to celebrate on days like our 4th of July. You really can be free in Christ. And that freedom is an incredible reality that will lead you into deeper connection with God and with the people all around you. Reach for it today, and believe it is a part of the life Christ has promised you!

{Photo images courtesy of http://www.pixabay.com}

 

 


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