Rev. Dr. Emmanuel T Naweji - United Methodist Church, Harris and Lake Park
As you read this article, my prayer and hope is that God enables you to experience His freedom on all levels of your life.
July is when we celebrate our independence (July 4, 1776), and the day we officially became the United States of America (September 9, 1776). We are a country, among a few others, that promotes freedom.
The freedom we celebrate in July is what we can offer to each other as humans. It means that we, as American citizens, have the right to speak, act and think as we want.
Not a lot of countries offer that kind of freedom to their citizens. I am originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo and have now been living in the U.S. since 2005. So, I can tell you that the United States, our country, is one of the very few nations where citizens are free to speak, act and think as they wish. We should be very thankful for that.
Does that mean living in our country, our freedom is complete? If you think of yourself or look around in your community, and across the country, your answer would probably be “no.”
What’s missing is something no country can offer to its citizens, freedom from spiritual bondage. Know that freedom does not only have to do with the right to act, speak and think as we want. There is more to this word.
Freedom also has to deal with our state of being captive of something or someone. This captivity is not only physical, but it is spiritual, emotional and mental too.
Only God can grant us that kind of freedom. Just as in 1776 we became a free country, over a thousand years prior to that (between AD 30 and 36), God set us free from the spiritual rulers and authorities.
We were dead in our sins and captive to sin. God, through Christ, set us free by canceling all the records that stood agains us with their legal demands. Jesus nailed all those records to the cross. He disarmed all the rulers and authorities by triumphing over them. As a result, we are a free people from all our sinful way of life. That’s the freedom no humans can offer us. Only God can by faith in Christ (see Colossians 2:13-15).
Here are a few things you and I could do as we celebrate our Independence this month:
• Be thankful for our country as you pray for all our leaders.
• Remember that you are not only an American citizen, but more importantly a citizen of God’s Kingdom here in the U.S. You are a disciple of Jesus Christ, set free from sin to love and serve God while living in this free country.
• Pray for all the other countries that do not allow the kind of freedom we have in the United States.
Happy Fourth of July!