Happy Independence Day!

Ah, July Fourth, the day when citizens of the United States celebrate independence with fireworks and parades and cookouts. Really, though, the celebration of Independence Day comes with the opportunity to remember that all freedom comes with sacrifice. Not safety. Not comfort.

The people who fought for independence could have simply accepted the status quo and hid in their homes. But they craved freedom and were willing to sacrifice their personal comforts and possibly even their lives so that their families and all future citizens could enjoy the blessings of independence.

Today we need another Revolutionary War. But I am NOT talking about politics. 

Christians (on all sides of the political spectrum!) need to get in the fight. Across this country, you see the devastation that comes from spiritual slavery. From big things like shootings, political tensions, porn addiction, and opioid abuse to not-quite-headline-making events like reaching for one too many glasses of wine or checking social media every three minutes hoping for a notification that someone has acknowledged you. 

St. Augustine put it this way: “Our hearts are restless, until they rest in you.” None of our problems will get even remotely better until restless hearts rest in the freedom that Jesus gives. 

If you know this freedom already, you have the privilege of setting others free: “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13).

You are called by the Father to sacrifice your personal comfort, your time, your energy, your self-consciousness, and your money to fight for and encourage other people’s spiritual freedom. The Holy Spirit gives you the motivation and the energy to overcome the sin of—to quote the old hymn—“saying ‘there is nothing I can do,’ while the souls of men are dying and the Master calls for you.” 

Volunteer, work faithfully, get involved in your community, smile at people at church, invite new neighbors to your home for dinner, encourage young parents, start a conversation with the person next to you in the bleachers, don’t complain about your company. As you faithfully weather your personal challenges, joyfully serve others, and reach out to the outcasts, you create endless opportunities to share the hope that you have. 

You get the opportunity to tell them about the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made when he left the security of heaven to fight on earth. Tell them that his battle gave all previous and future generations the victory. Let them know that heaven is not simply a one-day celebration of our spiritual freedom. Thanks to Jesus, we have an Independence Eternity.

Linda Buxa is a writer, Bible study leader, and retreat speaker. She is thankful for the military members who are still willing to sacrifice to keep our freedom secure.