Happy Independence Day
I just scoped out the official definitions of the
word "independence" in a couple of dictionaries.
One describes it as
"freedom from control
or influence of another or others." Merriam
Webster says, in part, that the state of being
independent means we are: "not dependent: as (i)
(1) not subject to control by others (2)
not affiliated with a larger controlling unit (ii)
(1) not requiring or relying on something else
(2) not looking to others for one's opinions or for
guidance in conduct."
As a United States
Citizen in a world that wars again and again over
the availability to its global citizenry of such
independence from governmental and political and
religious controls, I am humbled in gratitude for
those who have pledged or will pledge to commit
their lives - even to the point of death - for the
freedoms I enjoy as a child of these United States
of America, and for the promise these freedoms hold
for others throughout the world. Let us always
be in prayer for those who serve in our armed forces
and for those who lead them.
But, today, with our
National celebration of Independence falling on a
Sunday, and as I prepare to leave the house for
worship, I am intrigued by how the definitions above
apply to my faith. I believe one of God's most
amazing gifts to the children of the world is the
gift of spiritual independence. We are free in
God to choose God, or to reject God. How much
more beautiful our fellowship with our Creator is
because we, in our independent state, choose
to love him!
Here's the paradox I
see, though, in the confluence of my Christian faith
and my celebration of independence: As a person
created free, I have chosen to love God and accept
Christ. As a result of this choice, I have
willingly and thankfully affiliated my life to God's
control and Christ's guidance. As a Christian,
I rely on, even require, the direction of one
greater than I to help me live out my days on earth.
And the mystery of it all is that, while the
dedication of my life to Christ may, on paper,
contrast the definitions of independence, I am, when
I live my life for Christ, more free than I could
ever experience in the bounds of my own person.
Christ said, "I am the
Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes
to the Father except through me." (Jn. 14:6).
And I know the Truth, and the Truth has set me free.
Blessings and peace
to you as you journey.
Yours in Christ,