Independence day, 4th of July...I love it. I mean I really love it. I sincerely love pausing on the 4th and remembering and thinking about and being thankful for all the sacrifices that people have made over the years to give me this freedom.
I'm not a political guy, I mean I follow what's going on but I'm not one to dive into politics and focus there. I do not believe you can legislate people's hearts, their morality or their character. I'm also not a glass half-empty guy. Whenever things go bad I always believe they are about to turn around (yes I'm a Padre fan).
However, I can't help but wonder, lately, with the decisions that are coming out of Washington, if my independence, especially my religious independence is vanishing. I'm concerned that what is being forgotten in Washington is that the fight for independence was not just freedom from the Monarchy but freedom of religion.
I don't think Christians should shrink back in fear. On the contrary, the political climate in New Testament days was much worse then we are experiencing today. Many believe we are not far from the persecution experienced by the early church but we are not there...yet... And, remember what happened in that climate? - The church exploded in growth. Whenever and wherever the church is persecuted it grows.
Don't forget the words of Jesus in Matthew 16:18, "I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out" (MSG).
Jesus is continuing to build His church. And, no matter what legislation comes out of Washington to mute the church it will only add fuel to fire of the church.
Laws can be passed, corrupt leaders can reign and the Church can be pushed, knocked around and even temporarily knocked down, but because Jesus is the leader of the Church, it will never be knocked out.
The perceived freedoms that are being granted, legislated and imposed on Americans are not freedoms at all. They are chains. From ObamaCare to the change in DOMA and everything in between that has not passed through a democratic system but rather has been imposed on Americans will not satisfy people's deepest needs. It's only another link in the chain to government rule and independence lost. Only an authentic relationship with Jesus can satisfy ones deepest needs. Not a religious relationship with Jesus or a rules relationship with Jesus but a real relationship with Jesus.
So, I'll celebrate today, I'll remember those who lost their lives fighting for the freedom I have to write this post and lead a church and live freely. I'll appreciate looking at the American Flag waving in the wind at our house and I'll thank God this is still the Land of the Free and the Home of The Brave even though it seems almost daily some of my independence is lost.