Thursday, July 3, 2008


Tomorrow the United States celebrates Independence Day--the anniversary of our officially declaring independence from Great Britain in 1776. In all countries and at all times in history, "freedom" has been a highly valued concept: who would want to be a slave, to live constantly subject to someone else's orders and whims?

Yes, freedom is a wonderful thing--until we approach it the way Eve did, declaring our independence even from God's authority by doing the exact thing He has warned us not to do. Once we let into our heads the idea that God is a tightfisted tyrant, we have taken the first step toward selling ourselves into slavery to the worst kind of tyrant, the one named Sin.

The truth is that every human being is a slave in some way. Don't believe it? Try to find one person who can honestly say, "There is nothing and nobody that it would break my heart to lose." Countless people are slaves to the fear of losing their reputations, their health, their money, or their "true loves." And however good the thing may be in itself, the fear which tells us we couldn't live without it is based in sinful pride--the idea that we know what we need better than God does.

We'll never win by trying to cut ourselves free from all desires. The only way out is to offer ourselves to God as His slaves (cf. Rom. 6:12-23). We needn't fear He will ever prove an unkind or a harsh Master; as Jesus said (Mt. 11:28-30), His yoke is easy and His burden is light. And we needn't fear sin will ever overpower Him and take us back (cf. John 10:27-29).

The only true freedom lies in choosing the right Master.

You who boast you are bound to no one's will,
That you are free to do as you please,
And will rule your own life for good or ill,
With none to whom you need bend your knees--
Stop and take a look at what drives you on:
You are a ship on a surging sea,
Always chasing pleasures now seen, now gone--
For only God's slaves are truly free.

You who say each soul controls its own fate,
That positive thinking does it all,
And the optimist meets no tight-shut gate
That bars his path, nor can take a fall--
No positive thought ever raised the dead,
Nor assured a better world to be
Once you reach the end of your life's short tread--
No, only God's slaves are truly free.

You who love your country and all it means,
Who rejoice to hear the freedom bell
And to live in a nation of hopes and dreams,
Where all can hope things will yet be well--
You are blessed, indeed, but do not forget
The true Home of those with eyes to see,
The far greater Land that awaits us yet--
Yes, only God's Country is truly free.

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