Celebrate Freedom

by Andrea Cooley

freedom flagimage: Josh Meek, Creative Commons

Happy Fourth of July! I hope you’re enjoying a long weekend with family and friends, full of good food, fun, and of course, fireworks!

We are in Cedar Rapids this weekend with my whole family! I realized I don’t think we’ve all been together in over a year. My brother and his family live in St. Louis and my sister lives in New York, so getting us all under one roof doesn’t happen very often. My parents have a full house, but we’re excited to soak up every minute of our time together!

I realize the focus of today is our national freedom and recognizing and honoring all those who have made sacrifices so we can live in a country with freedom of speech, religion, press, and so much more. Does anyone else feel like they take these freedoms for granted? I’ve never had to fight for them or been without them, but I know they are things that people in other countries can only dream of.

But it’s also a good time to remember the freedom we have in Christ. Unfortunately, this is also something I take for granted. But I realize that with any kind of freedom, if I don’t recognize it and choose to accept it, it is worthless. That is why Paul writes in Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”

I believe freedom in Christ is a gift. It is freely mine to accept and live in. When I do that, I live in the knowledge of Christ’s love and grace for me and can live a life free from the yoke of slavery and the law. I am no longer bound by my sin and shame and can fully enjoy his love.

While living in freedom instead of slavery seems like an obvious choice, as humans sometimes it is our nature to fall back into our old ways. The Israelites are a perfect example of this. They were miraculously freed from slavery in Egypt, yet they still wandered in the desert for 40 years. They were free from slavery, but still living in bondage. I don’t want to live that way!

My prayer is that we learn from the Israelites and rather than continuing to live in bondage that we choose to embrace our freedom in Christ. Let’s choose to throw off the chains of sin and live our lives fully! Because that is why God set us free.

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Andrea Cooley

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