July 4th means I put extra flags in my yard and on the boat - I always have an American flag flying at my house. We usually spend the day with friends or on the boat with friends and grilling out on the island. Our dogs, like many of yours, do not like July 4th because of the fireworks! We have had neighborhoods who have parades and parties. People wear red, white and blue that weekend. Many people get an extra day off to enjoy cookouts and fireworks with friends. This is all good, but the one word that comes to my mind is freedom.
July 4th commemorates the day in 1776 that our nation declared itself to be an independent nation and no longer a colony of England. On that date, a number of our leading citizens signed what is known as the Declaration of Independence. July 4th is Independence Day and we celebrate the tremendous freedom we enjoy!
I try not to take freedom for granted. We live in a country where we can voice our opinions freely and can vote for the people of our choice. We can worship freely. The American flag means so much to me. I have generations of family members who have served and are serving for our country. Because of their contributions for my freedom, I proudly display my flag!
While July 4th is not a religious holiday, I do think it is a time to reflect on God’s goodness to us as a nation. Molded into the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia are the words from Leviticus 25:10, “And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.” The ancient words of the Psalmist are still true: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12a). While we look with gratitude to the past on this July 4th, may we also look in faith to the future. Psalm 33:12, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.”
If we want true and eternal freedom we need to commit our lives to God and His will. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,...” Jesus died to pay the price for our sins. He took my place and He took your place. Because of His death, we are made free from the death penalty of sin. We are washed clean and can stand righteous before God.
Jesus was buried. Romans 6:4, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Through faith we died with Jesus and we are dead to the power of sin over us. We can choose to live Holy lives.
“That He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:4) tells us that His death, alone, could not save us. It was the resurrection that gave us the power of salvation.
The American flag represents freedom. Jesus also represents freedom. He is like a banner flying over us, protecting us, and shielding us. Psalm 3:3, “But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.”
Let freedom ring this July 4th! Let the freedom Jesus gives ring out in our hearts today!