On July 4th, the United States will celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This is not the actual day of our freedom, but rather the day we made declaration of our intent. After a war with Great Britain, the colonies broke free from their authoritarian rule. Freedom is an amazing gift. The gift of freedom was not given to everyone at once. There has been a process of developing freedom. The most notable was the freeing of slaves after the civil war. We have also seen the granting of freedom from social bondage through the voting rights given to women, and the Voting Rights Act, which made voting more accessible to minorities. As a nation, we have been guided throughout the years by the Bill of Rights, which declares the equality of all citizens.
As a Christian, I am proud of the fact that Christians have often been on the forefront of the defense of freedom for everyone. As I look at the history of our nation, I am fully convinced our freedom is the result of God’s blessing, and the stirring of the Christian church in early history. During those years, many people came to the New World for religious freedom. Although Europe was mostly Christian, many of the countries had established government-sponsored churches that stifled religious freedom, and often used the church for political gain. It was in the midst of this setting that God sent a great revival. In the early 1700’s, there was what historians call “the Great Awakening,” which certainly laid the groundwork for the movements of freedom that followed. Preachers began to declare that not only could we be free from state religion, but also each person could have a personal encounter with God. This stirring of revival had such an impact on the nation that it was called an “awakening,” because changed people changed their world.
This is why I say freedom is a gift that God has always wanted to give His people. In the beginning, God created mankind and gave him dominion over all of His creation, with one stipulation—they could not eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They were tricked into eating it by the serpent, who is revealed in time to be the Devil (or Satan), the accuser and adversary of man. He told Eve to take a good look at the tree and she saw that it “…was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise.” This is what the Bible calls the world, “…the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life…” Thinking they were wiser than God, they decided to follow their own instincts, rather than the wisdom of God. The end result was not liberty—only bondage!
Personal Satisfaction Is Not the Right Path!
Our society has progressed from liberating mankind to liberating people; now, the focus is on helping people fulfill their desires for personal satisfaction. People want freedom from God, as well as freedom from the natural order He created. The scripture tells us that the wisdom of the invisible God is manifested in the creation. This is why the Bible discourages going against “the natural use” of our bodies to satisfy one’s personal longings. While our nation is succumbing to the horrible effects of drug addiction, many are still calling for lifting the restraints of government interference of recreational drug use. Who doesn’t know someone who has overdosed from the opiate epidemic ravaging our nation? Recent scientific studies are even showing that drug use and pornography rewire the brain in very damaging ways. We are also witnessing the breakdown of social order, from terrorism on the outside to civil strife on the inside. As a Christian, I certainly believe that God is the only source of freedom. However, even to a casual observer who does not have the guidance of the scripture, it would seem obvious that something is wrong and changes must be made.
The problems we face will not be solved by legislation. We need a heart change and we need love! We need to understand that when we are truly motivated by love, we will understand that life is not just about us. This is why we must open our hearts to God’s love. It seems hard to imagine that self-centered desire diminishes with a focus on someone or something else. This will not only revive us, but it will awaken us so we can once again see our nation transformed. I am challenging you to look at your heart condition, are you caught up in selfish desires as a believer? Have the cares of this world, or the deceitfulness of riches, drawn you into lies? It’s time to have the love of the kingdom birthed in the depths of our being, so we can bring forth a great impact on our nation—and all the nations of the earth. I am convinced once again that changed people will change their world!