Tuesday is the 4th of July, the day the people of the USA celebrate as Independence Day.
It’s a day where people gather and eat together and watch fireworks blaze across the sky to the tune of a familiar song. The Land of the free and the Home of the Brave.
I dearly love the Fourth of July. I love that it’s easy to be festive and that it’s a holiday that draws people out of their homes and into community spaces. It’s a holiday where we stand in the company of our neighbors taking pause from our labor and savoring summer sunshine.
The context in which this year’s holiday dawns paints it a little differently for me.
Recent years have been marked by great tragedy, great fear, growing unrest, and growing distrust.
What is the meaning of freedom and courage in a world seemingly ruled by violence and hatred?
In this time of great trouble, I hear the echoes of words I learned in a Sunday School classroom many years ago — in the pursuit of the donut my father promised if I could recite the verses — never knowing the way they would whisper hope to me in times of fear and darkness.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Galatians 5:1
The fifth chapter in Galatians is a plea to keep the faith. To choose to love. To trust the mystery of losing your life and finding it. To trust that goodness is reaped when we allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate our lives. To have confidence that there is far more to be gained, than what we forfeit as we follow Jesus.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:13-25
May we walk in the hope that the God who fashioned all the marvels and the mysteries of the universe is at work in us—making all things new, and leading us closer to His heart.
May we choose freedom over fear.
May we not relent in our commitment to let the gospel of Jesus Christ move us into response.
May we never forget what we have been taught to do: to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
May we live in the freedom, for which we’ve been set free.
INVEST IN YOUR GOD-GIVEN GIFTS AND SPIRITUAL GROWTH
Your Gifts: Spiritual Gifts Discovery
God created you with purpose and passion—learn how you can take the gifts He has given you and use them to advance His Kingdom in ways you never imagined.
Here are more free articles, one for each of the nine Team Ministry Spiritual Gifts…
- Do You Have the Spiritual Gift of Shepherding?
- Do You Have the Spiritual Gift of Administration?