949. Free by being a Slave

Why today should be a Declaration of Dependence for followers of Christ

IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING

As we celebrate our nation’s independence from British rule, we celebrate the freedom that we gained and the great cost we paid. Thousands lost their lives. Thousands were severely wounded. Nothing about it was pretty. It was agonizing in horrible conditions. Not everyone was in agreement with what the leaders decided. As to trained soldiers, the colonists were out manned and out gunned. Yet, the colonists risked their lives for the prize they so desperately desired—their freedom.

It’s sad that so many of us have lost touch with our heritage. We take so much for granted that we look forward to getting off work, celebrating with fireworks, picnics, cooking out, parties and relaxing at the pool or beach, but seldom take time to remember what the day really means. Freedom is always costly, and we owe it to those who purchased that freedom for us with their lives.

AS I SEE IT

For followers of Christ, this day is also a reminder of the day that we were set free, not to our independence, but to our dependence. In Christ’s world, everything seems backward. We are to love our enemies, the last will be first, the greatest will be a servant, and the freest people will be slaves. To the world, all this makes no sense, but the more intimate our relationship with Christ becomes, the more we understand why the apostle Paul willingly took the title of “bond slave” of Christ.

He came to know that the more He submitted to Jesus and His will, the freer he became. He experienced freedom from the sin that had kept him in chains. He became free from the pull of the world to conform him into its mold. He became free from His own fleshly desires that waged war against the Spirit of God. He learned to be free from worries about how He would live after He had learned that His master would take care of all his needs.

He became free from the schemes of Satan after he learned to depend completely on the One who had been given authority over Satan and all his minions. He became free from fear over what the world might do to Him after he had learned that being with Christ permanently was worth any minor suffering he may have to endure.

Paul’s primary desire was to know Christ and Him crucified. He understood what his freedom had cost his Master. In the world, the slave suffers for the benefit of the master. In the Kingdom of God, it is the master who suffers out of love for His slave. Christ, his Lord, had paid the ultimate price to win his independence from himself and everything in him that warred against his Heavenly Father.

Just as Paul willingly became a bond slave of Christ, so should we. Once we understand the depth of the cost paid for us and the freedoms that were purchased for us, we should willing declare that we are His bond-slave forever. Today, as we celebrate the 4th of July, let’s remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our nation’s freedom. But let’s also remember the One who purchased our personal freedom at a cost so great that it is beyond our comprehension.

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