There seems to be a mistaken notion in our society that God hates fun.
Some people view God as a cosmic killjoy. Some people see God’s word as a series of prohibitions and “thou shall nots.” Some view Christians as a bunch of straight-laced people who only go to church, pray and read the Bible.
The good news is that God promises all of us freedom.
Freedom is the heart of God’s plan. The first three words God spoke to Adam were “You are free.” The first humans were free to eat from every tree but one and free to enjoy the resources of the entire garden. Can you imagine having every good thing the world had to offer in your hands? This freedom empowered them to have a relationship with God. Knowing the story of Adam and Eve, we realize that they exchanged their freedom for bondage to sin.
God came to break this bondage. Through Moses, God provided the law for the world to follow. The law provided the proper way to sustain an orderly society. This law freed people from superstitious rituals enacted toward worthless idols. The heart of the law is in Deuteronomy 6:5: “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your strength.”
However, the Israelites never quite got the hang of this freedom. God extends freedom to us, but like the ancient Israelites, we never quite get it, either. We find in John 8:32 that the truth Christ brought was to set us free. We seem to vacillate between freedom and bondage. Some take this freedom as a license to sin or to turn our spiritual journey into a legalistic code. The apostle Paul instructed the Corinthians to stop using their freedom as an excuse for immoral practices and the Galatians to stop surrendering their freedom to a strict religious code.
So how are we to embrace freedom? We should realize that Christ came to set us free. He continues to do that on a daily basis. Christ’s death and resurrection forever broke the power of sin and death. Being free in Christ means we are free from the fear of spiritual death and divine judgment. We can enjoy the thought that our past, sinful mistakes no longer matter to God when we ask God to forgive those sins. We become new creations in Christ so we can enjoy a fresh start with God. God’s freedom is for all.
Ultimately, God’s promise of freedom is much more than avoiding sin or doing good works. Christ sets us free to enjoy a relationship with God by removing everything that separates us from God. I invite you to pray to God for forgiveness and enter into a relationship with God. God promised and gave us real freedom that draws us to God. Begin your true independence today.
Have a happy Independence Day in the Lord.
Wright is the Pastor of Hinesville First United Methodist Church and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.