The United States of America might lay claim to the dedication to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but America didn’t invent it. God created and purposed those inalienable rights for all humankind as acknowledged by the Declaration of Independence. We are born with an innate desire for freedom, regardless of our genetic makeup. Why? Because God designed us for freedom, spirit, body, and choice, not bondage, slavery, or torment.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.Galatians 5:1
The problem is that we were born into a mortal struggle. Once Adam and Eve chose to give in to the temptation, we have each inherited a personal battle against sin. Humans believe the great deception of the attraction to bondage is disguised as freedom without knowing the truth. If you think about it, everything that’s considered a sin binds us or has the potential to make us prisoners. We were born into a life of possible chains and incarceration, and we are affected by those chains that bind our families. When we are bound spiritually, we are not free. We can even find our freedom in Christ and then, in time, get caught up in trying to earn our righteousness.
For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.Romans 5:19
Freedom can be scary. As we teeter on its edge, the fluff of its dream is stripped away, and the truth of its vastness is revealed. On the edge of that reality, we see clearly those ties that bind us and keep us from moving forward. It isn’t easy to face the bondages that so easily beset us. It takes courage to face the reality of why we behave the way we do. We can never be free if we shrink back into the comfortable shadows and compromise with our demise. As the Declaration states, it’s human to suffer from injustice as long as we can. Why do we wait until it becomes intolerable? There is good news, the longer we stare into the uncomfortable face of truth, the braver we become to reach for freedom.
…and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.Declaration of Independence
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”John 8:31-32
Our Personal Declaration of Independence
We can declare independence from those suppressions, bondage, pain, doubt, and hopelessness. We can paraphrase the U.S. Declaration of Independence for ourselves.
It is now necessary for me to dissolve the bands that have connected me with my pain, my destructions. You, oh Lord, have created me as equal to others. You endowed me and everyone else with many unalienable rights. Some are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I choose to separate myself from my internal governments that have become destructive towards those ends, holding me captive. I abolish that Government and embrace the one of grace. Today, I right myself by abolishing the comfort zones from which I am accustomed and the judgments I assume God is making on me; I open myself to his grace and forgiveness upon my life.
But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 1 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.Romans 6:1
The Price of Freedom
Jesus paid the price for our sins, shortcomings, and those things that hold us captive. We trust him with our salvation, but we can so easily fall back into trying to earn forgiveness. There’s nothing we can do to make up for our sins it can only come from a perfect innocent sacrifice. That’s why Jesus came. He set us free from our sin and our destructions. He took our curse upon himself that we can live free in God. Let’s celebrate the courage that birthed our nation. May we retain that courage to dare to believe in the forgiveness and freedom that comes from the selfless sacrifice of Christ Jesus.
13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—Galatians 3:11-13