What Freedom Means

On July 4th, the United States of America celebrates her freedom, a freedom won originally from England, but a freedom that continues to cost men and women their lives.

Our original march toward freedom was expressed by our founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Because of those in our armed forces, in law enforcement, and in Congress, we as citizens enjoy many freedoms. Although we can express them individually, we must also respect the freedoms and rights of others.

FREEDOM CHOOSES WHO WILL GOVERN US

Not all in our young nation enjoyed the privilege of voting. Women didn’t receive the right until 1920 with the passing of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Native Americans and African Americans legally won the right in 1870 with the 15th Amendment, but didn’t realize it in practice until 1924 and 1965 respectively.

Much blood was shed during the American Revolution and also during the Civil Rights Movement to ensure that all people, regardless of their race, creed, or color, had the right to choose who ruled over them. As Americans, we should exercise this wonderful privilege of using what has cost so many so much: the right to vote. We can only imagine how our freedom to vote must look to those in oppressive countries who fight and die for the privilege some in our country relinquish.

FREEDOM EXPRESSES OUR RELIGIOUS RIGHTS

While Christianity is being repressed in a number of ways in our country, our Constitution protects our religious rights. People are free to worship the Christian God, other gods, or no god at all. This is an important freedom and one purchased by the blood of those who formed our nation. We are not forced to support a ruler we don’t like, nor taxed to fund a particular church or religion we don’t agree with. We can worship in the church of our choice, or not at all.

FREEDOM ENJOYS THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND CHOICE

As long as it isn’t threatening or libelous, we can express our opinions about our leaders without fear of retaliation. We can stump for them or against them. We can choose whom to vote for, where we want to attend college, and what kind of job we want.

FREEDOM IS GOING AND COMING AS WE PLEASE

As Americans, if our finances allow, we can live wherever we want and however we want. In a house, mobile home, apartment, or camper. Our travel is not restricted. We are free to enjoy all of our beautiful land.

FREEDOM CHOOSES CHRIST

While freedom from another nation’s control and freedom to choose our rulers are tremendous freedoms, they aren’t the greatest. Jesus tells us what it is: So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36).

A relationship with Jesus Christ frees us from sin’s penalty, sin’s power, and eventually sin’s presence. The wages of sin may be death, but the gift of God in Christ is eternal life. Believers are no longer under condemnation. Jesus paid our sin debt on Calvary, and we don’t have to send further payments. Christ gives us a new nature. Through the power and presence of His Spirit, He teaches us how to live above sinful habits that once drug us down.

Be proud to be an American, but even prouder to be a Christian.

Martin Wiles

Martin lives in Greenwood, SC, and is the Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us), the Senior Editor for Inspire-a-Fire, and a Proof Editor for Courier Publishing. He is an author, English teacher, minister, and freelance editor. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and the author of six books, including his most recent, A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapes for a Noisy World. He has also been published in numerous publications. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three. He can be contacted at martinwileseditor@gmail.com.

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