Tomorrow is the 4th of July the day we celebrate our independence from England. It is a time when we talk a great deal about freedom, and we celebrate the freedom we have in America. There is much to celebrate in America when it comes to freedom, but I have a confession to make, I have squandered my freedom.
I write this today from the porch of my home on my wireless laptop computer that is connected to the internet via my wifi router, while I stream music on my iPad that plays through my Bluetooth speaker. Freedom is great I can listen to just about any song I can imagine, and write about any topic I please. I traveled last month through several states, camping as we traveled without fear. Sounds like I have this freedom thing down.
It is not a question of if I use my freedom, or if I enjoy my freedom, I do both! Yesterday as I was preparing graphics to post online, using my freedom of expression, I created the photo at the top of this post. The original meme simply read “Jesus Make Yourself Know In The USA Again.” As I pondered this statement It struck me that the task of making Jesus know in this country is a divine work of the Spirit of the Living God – THROUGH His people.
We have been given the freedom in this country to have a Bible in every room in our home, we can carry it on our phones, and on our computers. We have Christian Sermons online from thousands of churches, we can stream these sermons to where ever we are. We have who networks devoted to Christian programming, we have streaming services like RightNow Media and PureFlix which offer encouraging teaching and entertainment right into our living rooms.
I know that as a Bible-believing Lutheran Christian not all of these sermons and media are in line with my theology, and some of them might even be best described as harmful to the kingdom. The simple truth remains we have the freedom to use our time in activities that build us up, and thereby build up our nation, or in mindless activities, or worse yet harmful behaviors that diminish ourselves, and certainly our witness of Christ in this world.
Oh how I have squandered the freedom I have been given, the multiple opportunities that lay before me each day to make Jesus know in my nation. I do not think I am alone in this, in fact I believe the vast majority of those we read this are also guilty of squandering our freedom. In this country, the Bill of Rights gives to us amazing freedoms, some of the most celebrated are the found in the First Amendment:
Freedom of Religion, Speech, and the Press
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercisethereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
What am I doing on a daily basis to make Christ know in my nation? not just to my fellow Christians, but to a sin-darkened world? Am I wasting my freedoms to fight for causes that can truly only be healed and restored by God. Am I using my freedom to talk to God about His plan for my life, and how he would have me use my time?
I remember being told of a Bible distribution in the mid-1990’s in Red Square. People were so hungry for the Word that upon receiving a Bible, they would tear it into 2 or 3 parts so that everyone who wanted some of the Bible could have some. I read about the martyrs of the church today around that world that openly share Christ under fear for their very lives.
My resove this Fourth of July be to use my freedoms for the advance of the Kingdom, may I not squander the freedoms that are mine today. I also need to in prayer each day that the freedoms we enjoy today do not disappear, or fall under the weight of rising opposition to the Gospel of Christ.
Please join me in NOT squandering the freedom we have been given.
SOMETHING TO PONDER: How do you wisely use your freedom? How have you squandered it?