A demand for freedom pulses through our veins.
When God created us, he gave us free will—the ability to choose. He doesn’t coerce us into loving, following, and obeying him; he gives us the ability to choose to do those things. But with that ability comes the choice to walk away, to sin, to live a life of selfish pursuits and indifference to the God who created us. But that’s what freedom is. We have the ability to choose the life we want. And the desire to choose will always be a core part of our being. Freedom is part of the human condition, an unalienable right, as it’s been so aptly written.
Freedom entices us, drives us, empowers us, and inspires us. It’s something that we, as modern-day Americans, have come to expect, although it’s something we should never take for granted. Our founding fathers understood the weight of such a gift, given by God himself. They recognized the dignity of an individual life, and the pride in pursuing life in the context of freedom.
A Gift and a Right
Freedom is a GIFT that cannot, or should not, be taken away by a fellow human; but it’s a RIGHT that we can easily forget to fight for. Ronald Reagan famously said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
The Oxford Dictionary defines freedom as “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants,” and “the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.” It seems like such a basic right, so elementary in a way, for people to assume this privilege. But history proves that many men (and kings) have believed otherwise, and freedom has become just that—a privilege. The tyranny of the King of Great Britain upon our baby nation proves that the freedom we so easily take for granted today was not the same freedom the original 13 colonies experienced.
The states maintained a lengthy list of grievances against the King. Accusations ranged from refusing to allow or enforce laws for the good of the people, obstructing justice and blackmail, intimidation through military presence, excessive taxation and blocking trade, waging war, plundering and burning of property, destroying lives, and completing works of death, desolation, and tyranny, just to name a few.
A Declaration for Liberty
The choice to remain dependent upon another kingdom simply wasn’t an acceptable option for the early Americans. On July 4, 1776, a little over a year after the American Revolutionary War began, Congress ratified the document that is memorialized as a manifesto for freedom—the Declaration of Independence. Representatives from the original states met together at the Pennsylvania State House, now known as Independence Hall, to sign their names to the document that would declare to King George III, and to the world, that these United States resolved to be independent and sovereign.
The Declaration of Independence represented the stance of the hopeful hearts of our nation’s men and women. They acknowledged that they had unalienable rights, that those rights had been trampled on, and that it was time to declare liberty. The people were simply fed up! So instead of continuing on with life as usual, they chose to declare their freedom and fight for it! Their release from captivity and the ability to direct their God-given lives was reason enough to take a stand.
So, my question is, what’s stopping us today? I’m not talking specifically about standing for our American freedom, although I think we should do that, too. We should stand for the National Anthem; we should stand for the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag; we should stand to salute our troops who risk their lives for our freedom; we should stand when a fellow citizen is in need. Yes, I say “stand” to all of these things!
Even still, another question remains… Are we ready to take a stand for our freedom in the primary kingdom of our citizenship—the Kingdom of God? Are we ready to refuse the tyranny of an enemy who seeks to destroy our lives (John 10:10)? Are we fed up with his schemes, his temptations, his lies, his condemnation, and his fear? Are we over the relentless beatings upon our souls, and ready to choose a better way of life?
Are we ready to receive the freedom that Christ paid to give us? Are we ready to step into our authority, put on our armor and fight with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph. 6:17)? Are we ready to believe that greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4)?
A Choice for Life
When we finally decide to fight for our freedom, to be free from captivity, to choose life instead of death, then we can stand up in faith and receive the freedom that Christ died to give us. It’s our birthright as humans to have the freedom of choice. It’s our birthright as Christians to choose life! The choice of life or death is before us, so choose life (Deut. 30:19)!
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19, NIV).
What wonderful assurance to know that Christ has given us freedom. We no longer are imprisoned or enslaved to our former ways, to our sin nature, to the inability to act or speak or think as a child of God. Instead, we are free to live by the Spirit of God, in Christ-likeness. We are free to act how God acts, speak how God speaks, and think how God thinks. We are free to live as citizens of Heaven.
The enemy may be wreaking havoc on your life, similar to how the King wreaked havoc on the lives of the early statesmen. But like them, we can decide that we aren’t going to take it lying down. We can step into our birthright and declare freedom over our lives. We can refuse the former way of living. We can choose to say “no”—to the depression, the fear, the victimization, the sickness, the drama, and the control, to all of these things—“we declare freedom!”