As we Americans celebrate Independence Day, it is natural to think of our soldiers, both past and present. We honor and thank them for the sacrifices they have made to defend our country. We recognize that our freedoms came with a price --- the shedding of blood and oftentimes, death.
I remember one time shortly after Gerson and I moved from Bolivia to the United States. For some reason we were at the Indianapolis International Airport eating in the food court. I can't remember who we were dropping off or picking up, but I do remember that a whole group of soldiers had deplaned and were walking by the food court. We watched as men and women all over the food court stood to their feet and began applauding. I found myself standing to my feel with tears in my eyes, clapping as a way of saying "thank you" to those unknown soldiers walking by.
The other thing I remember quite clearly was how surprised Gerson was by the gesture of us strangers, in complete unity, standing and applauding those soldiers. He looked around incredulously, amazed by the support and genuine honor we were giving to a group of people we had never met, but obviously cherished. He asked me about it, and I was proud to tell him, "We Americans love our soldiers. We are patriotic and are thankful for our freedoms, but recognize they came with a price."
As I reflect on our freedoms as American citizens, my mind goes to another type of freedom --- spiritual freedom. Just as many countries have never expierenced the liberties we enjoy here in the United States, many people have never lived with spiritual freedom. Spiritual freedom also comes with a price ---- the ultimate sacrifice of the shed blood and death of a blameless man named Jesus.
Not only do I live in this free nation, but I also have been liberated from my sin. Yet, how often to I honor Jesus? Do I honor him in my daily life as quickly as I stood and honored those soldiers walking through the airport? Do I stand and praise Him in public when I'm surrounded by strangers? Am I quick to get teary-eyed when I think of His sacrifice for me? Do I find ways to thank Him for dying so I can be free?
On this July 4th, I do honor the soldiers who serve this country. In fact, my brother is one of them, and I am super proud of him. But, more importantly, I want to recognize and honor the One gave me REAL freedom. Spiritual freedom is not based upon race, citizenship, or type of government. Rather, Jesus brings true freedom to the incarcerated, the beaten, the down-trodden, the forgotten, the mistreated, the lords, the ladies, the lovely, and the unlovely.
As we serve the Lord here in McAllen, we desire to share what true freedom really means. May
we honor Jesus every day of our lives. May we live in real freedom with gratitude, never forgetting the blood that was spilt so we could be free. And may we never grow weary of sharing the Good News that all men can be free, indeed!