Happy Independence Day!

It is a beautiful, sunny Saturday. Today, the air finally feels like summer; the birds fill the breeze with their songs as they float from tree to tree. The bright, blue sky is draped with drifting clouds. The house across the street is clad in its patriotic attire -- a vibrant, American flag hangs from a pole on the front porch. The gentle wind flicks it from one side to another.

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Each of the 50 white starts intricately woven into the rich, navy fabric symbolizes one of the 50 states that compose our country. The 13 stripes represent the original 13 colonies that gained independence from Great Britain. I cannot help but feel thankful when I reflect upon the beauty of the American flag. Americans declared independence from Great Britain because of the great oppression the British inflicted upon the colonists. The American colonists had come to America in search of a new lifestyle.

Liberty was born in July of 1776. Because America was no longer a slave to Great Britain’s dominion, they could grow and flourish. Eventually, this newfound freedom led to the beginning of a new chapter for our country.

Do you ever feel as if you are crushed under the oppression and dominion of our sinful nature? I know I do. There are times that I feel I don’t have any other choice but to give into my flawed human nature. These selfish desires and sin patterns are HEAVY. They sit on us-- like a weight on our shoulders, disabling us to move any further for the kingdom of God.

John 8:36 says, “So if the Son sets you FREE, you will be FREE indeed.”

As children of God, we are no longer slaves to our sin. We are no longer slaves to our earthly desires. We are no longer slaves to our pain. The Spirit of the living God has rescued us from this old lifestyle and has given us the power to turn away from our sin. We can shed that skin with confidence in knowing that our God is with us and for us and will lead us to the best that life has for us.

The independence we gain from the release of sin’s tyranny in our lives gives us peace. It engulfs us in confidence and strength. He has already paid the price for the sin in our lives.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m still human. Very, very human, in fact. I still sin (a lot). I still wander. I still act against the guidance of the Spirit in my life. But I rest in the fact that my sin has no power over me! I have a choice. Every day I can choose to say no to myself, and to say yes to my God.

This Independence Day, amidst the fireworks, cornhole, and barbequing, I encourage you to spend some time thinking and rejoicing over the freedom we have been given in Christ. God has truly fought the good fight to rescue us from our ultimate oppressor.

Happy Independence Day!