Set Free to Serve
On July 3, 1776, John Adams took a break from his work in the Continental Congress to pen a letter to his wife, Abigail. Adams had no idea his personal comments would become part of the historical record. He wrote: “Yesterday the greatest question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater perhaps, never was or will be decided among men. A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony ‘that these United Colonies, are, and of right ought to be free and independent States…’”.
The struggle for freedom was costly. The fifty-six men who signed the Declaration of Independence in the months following its adoption were marked as traitors to the crown. Many citizens of the colonies died to purchase the new nation’s right of self-government. Others forfeited fortunes and land to the cause of freedom. Servitude to absentee rulers was no longer an option, and the conflict demonstrated the fledgling nation’s resolve in its quest for independence.
Paul described a freedom we can have for the asking, one we will never lose, in Romans 8:2 (NIV), “because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” At the moment I embraced Christ as my Savior, I became a permanent member of God’s family. I have a new life and freedom to choose my steps. My sin nature which once governed every move can be defeated through the power of God’s Spirit. For the colonists taking up arms in 1776, freedom was an uncertain hope that sustained their determination. For the believer, freedom is our present reality.
We may be surprised to read that Paul decided to forfeit his freedom. He made a choice to pursue a higher cause in 1 Corinthians 9:19 (NIV), “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.” Paul’s personal privileges meant nothing in light of sharing the Good News and influencing others for Christ. His life’s moments became his opportunities to reach out and touch others.
Being set free so I can voluntarily become a servant? Yes, that’s the freedom Christ offers. Paul urged believers in Galatians 5:13 (NIV) to “…serve one another humbly in love.” W. Phillip Keller in his book, A Gardener Looks at the Fruits of the Spirit, writes, “We see ourselves as stewards entrusted with time, talents, means, and concern to be used on behalf of God and our fellow men.”
Independence Day is our opportunity to reflect on our freedom, nationally and spiritually. How are we doing in our stewardship of God’s provisions? What about our service to a nation sorely in need of His love? Believers must be the channels through which that love flows. Do we view life’s moments as opportunities to serve others?
Connecting people to Jesus for life change is more than a motto. It’s our nation’s only hope for lasting freedom.