Perhaps today as you read this, you find yourself overwhelmed. The acute stressors of life, relationships and the demands of life are constantly staring you in the face and weighing you down. You might find yourself engaged in an inner struggle over such questions as:
Will the rat race ever end?
Can I find peace for my soul?
Is this all there is to life?
Will my situation ever improve?
What legacy am I leaving behind?
To be sure, the search for personal freedom and freedom for the good of all man and womankind is a pursuit well known to the pages of history.
In July of 1776 one such document outlines just such a search:
"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (and women) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
( Opening Paragraphs of The Declaration of Independence July 4th, 1776)
The Founding Fathers not only committed high treason with their Declaration of Independence they engaged in active open combat with those who would deprive them of such God given liberties. We can see this search for freedom and liberty play out again in our country during the Civil War when so many were in bondage, enslaved and oppressed due to race and ethnic origins. Again we see this played out in the World War's especially in World War II against Jewish and other minority people groups that were slaughtered and persecuted wholesale. The search for freedom is a costly one. It always demands our utmost sacrifice to gain freedom and even more to keep it.
The cost and truth surrounding freedom's cost and it's clarion call is found in our personal lives which extends to our families, communities, cities, states, and nation as a whole. If the cost for a nations freedom is so costly, what then can we say for our personal freedom? Our mental, emotional and spiritual freedoms? Surely, they too come with a high cost.
To be sure, indeed they do come with the highest of costs.
Thankfully, the cost of our personal freedom has already been paid in full. As Christians, we believe that cost was paid once and for all through the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ on a cross many years ago. The challenge then is learning how to apply that truth to our lives and allowing the truth found in our faith and in scripture to become the greater reality in our mind, spirit and soul than the message that is constantly put before us by the world, our flesh, our past, our families, our culture and the enemy of our souls. This is why Scripture over and over again emphasis spiritual disciplines, cycles of rest for our mind, body and soul as well as the importance of winning the battlefield of our minds. (Where most spiritual warfare takes place!)
Ephesians 6:10-20 (ESV) speaks to this:
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak."
Learning to master the battlefield of our minds is a skill like any other and this skill takes time, patience, practice and a willingness to apply scripture and it's truth to our lives in ways that directly confront the lies and problem areas we so easily come into agreement with that are not in alignment with the truth in God's word about our identity and calling as human beings.
Our hope for you no matter your circumstance, is that as you celebrate our nations freedom this month, you find yourself engaged in the fight for your own personal freedom. That in that process you learn how to enter into cycles of deep Sabbath rest, that you learn
how to win the spiritual battles raging in your mind and soul and that you appropriate Spiritual Disciplines that bring you into fresh encounter with the living God of the universe. These things are not easily done in a whirlwind culture that demands we are constantly plugged in and connected, but the cost of not doing them is infinitely more. You will come to find that there is nothing more peaceful, purposeful or powerful than giving yourself the time and grace to invest in yourself by mastering these skillsets and learning how to enjoy the peace and presence of the Lord.
Freedoms Clarion Call is ringing out. We hope you answer!