Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
(1 Peter 2:16)
On July 4th America will celebrate Independence Day, the day the colonies declared their independence from Great Britain and ultimately established a constitutional democracy. The United States has the longest sustained democracy of any country in history. We have enjoyed great freedom and prosperity as a nation, but in many ways are forgetting the call of our Founding Fathers to trust in God. Christians sometimes forget this as well.
The Apostle Peter is reminding Christians that just because we are eternally forgiven by the blood of Jesus Christ, we should not abuse that freedom by deliberately seeking to do things that are detestable to God. We are set free to serve the Lord, not to participate in and to condone sinful behaviors.
This is as true for a whole Nation as it is of its individual citizens. As we look around our country and its media, we see things celebrated that do not honor the Lord and his directions to us. Many Christians feel great social pressure to accept those celebrated sins, or at least to remain silent about them.
Peter reminds us to use our God given freedom to live lives that honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Because we no longer bear the shackles of sin, we have been set free to live as God designed us to live. How are you living so that others would call you a servant of God?
As for our Nation, people routinely ask me how we can turn it back to God. I say that it begins one life at time, beginning with ourselves. To reword a statement made by Mahatma Gandhi that also lines up with the words of the Apostle Peter, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Let this Independence Day remind us to live in dependence upon the Lord and his Holy Word, and to pray every day for our country and its leaders.
God of Power and Might, forgive me for yielding to temptation and behaving in ways that do not honor you. Thank you for the freedom you have given me in both my life and my country. Show me today how I can better serve my country by bravely serving you above all else. Amen.