Celebrating the 4th of July: 8 Posts Highlighting True Freedom and What it Means for Us

Every year, friends who follow me ask if I know any good studies on celebrating the 4th of July. So this year I put together a list of 8 posts highlighting true freedom and what it means for us.

Beware, though. While I’m very grateful for our American independence and those who fought and continue to fight to preserve it, the freedom mentioned in these posts is even more vital.
 
It’s the kind that guarantees both our everyday security and our eternal life.
 
If you’re want something to help you focus on the reason for this season, at least for a few minutes before all the festivities begin, check out these links.
 
I’ve divided them into three sections so you can consider this topic from several angles.
 

Sacrifices & Fighting for True Freedom

  1.  Women in the Military: I’m humbled by your sacrifice— Janine Mendenhall

I recall the labor involved with getting my children into this world, but it was nothing compared to what women in the military confront. I’m humbled by your sacrifice so I’m offering a truly heartfelt thank you, ladies.

 
       2. 3 Crimes We Commit Against Our Heroes— Janine Mendenhall

Independence Day’s here so I’ve been pondering how many have sacrificed themselves for my freedom. This led to exploring the 3 crimes we commit against our heroes, especially humanity’s Ultimate hero, Jesus Christ.

That’s tough, I know. But sometimes we must take medicine, even if tastes bad.

 

Set Free, but

     

  1. Freedom in Christ— Larry Fowler

 

“In the “land of the free,” we often confuse the true nature of freedom. For many of us, freedom has become synonymous with personal independence — the ability to make our own decisions and choose our own path in life, to do whatever we want, whenever we want. It’s what I call “outside freedom.”

 

But this is not the freedom that Jesus promised us. When Jesus revealed himself as the Messiah, He said that He had come to Earth to “proclaim freedom” (Luke 4:18). And on another occasion, He said, “If the Son sets you free,  you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).”

 

2. By Grace, We Are Free in Christ— Sinclair Ferguson

 

In John 8:34 Jesus underlined the bondage in which we are held by nature. On the other hand, He spoke about the freedom into which He brings sinners by grace: “If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” John 8:36.

 

How could the Son set them free? Because of who He was. He was the Son who has been sent into the world by the Father. He knew the Father’s plan. He had the most intimate relationship with the Father. He had heard everything the Father had said, and He came with this message of good news: “The Father has sent Me in order to set you free.”

 

3. Setting Aside Your Liberty— John MacArthur
 
Exercising our freedom must never come at the cost of offending another brother or sister in Christ. The principle of love demands that, whenever necessary, we willingly sacrifice our liberty for the sake of protecting each other. That is Paul’s theme in 1 Corinthians 8.

 

In chapter 9, Paul provides some examples from his own ministry to drive that point home.

 

or though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

 

Struggles with Freedom

     

  1.  The Nightmare Driving the American Dream— Marshall Segal

 

The American Dream looks like an impressive mountain to climb when it’s really just a tiny cave in which to hide. People look like they are aspiring, striving, and succeeding, but in reality they are cowering. Confident, put together, assertive on the outside, but terrified within. We cover our deepest fears by trying to achieve more, acquire more, and be more.

 

Our fears may wear new styles of clothing, listen to new artists, and refuse to pay for cable, but they are ancient, relentless, and contagious. The same anxieties terrorizing us today were terrorizing the church and the world in New Testament times. The list below is not exhaustive but represents five fears the Bible addresses that are as alive today as ever.

 

2. What Do You Pray for ISIS?— Nik Ripken

 

As followers of Jesus, we have chosen the side of good over evil. Nowhere is this clearer than in regions of the world where persecution is the costly price Christians pay for proclaiming the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ — places, for instance, where ISIS is ruthlessly executing our brothers and sisters in the faith.
 
While the battle with evil certainly has physical manifestations, the deeper and more important war is spiritual and internal. When evil attacks, we cry out in prayer for God to help us. And what we ask God for tells us a lot about what we really want, and in what we hope.

 

3. Prisoners of Self: Incessant Autobiography in the Smartphone Age— Tony Reinke

 

The man doting over a smartphone screen, scrolling through media with his fingertips, is like a gorilla meticulously picking out little bugs from his own hair.

 

That was the subversive quip of anthropologist Thomas de Zengotita. For both the screen addict and the gorilla, neck-down focus is the attentive posture of self-image grooming.

 

The association here is funny (and not funny), and if C. S. Lewis were alive in the digital age, I think he’d be letting out a hearty laugh at the correlation. He would certainly offer up many warnings to us, and probably one of them would be the dangers of getting preoccupied with self-image care, or, what he called, “incessant autobiography.”

 

More Blogs Coming Soon

 

Thanks for your patience as I’ve been away finishing Never Past Hope (Book#2) and settling unexpected struggles that have actually given me more freedom than I expected. It’s great to be back, though, and I’m excited to hear from you.
 
Tell me how you’re celebrating the 4th of July. I’d also like to hear what you thought about any of these posts. I promise: I’ll respond right away.

 

Blessings,
Janine

 

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