by Pastor Mark Jordan
“Exercise your freedom by serving God.” (1 Peter 2:16, MSG)
Happy Independence Day! I love today, this holiday, and what it stands for: the independence of this wonderful nation. I hope you have great plans for this great day, but as we begin, let’s remember the source of our freedom. We remember the 4th of July as the day when the Declaration of Independence was published. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson as the principle author, and ratified by the colonies, on July 2, it is important to remember one of the most famous lines in all of human history: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men 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.”
Unalienable Rights. That means rights given by God that cannot be taken away. God gave you these rights for the sake of freedom. Your freedom isn’t simply for doing whatever you wish and want; no, your freedom is given to you for the sake of expressing your freedom in service to the Creator who gave those rights in the first place.
Peter wrote that you are to exercise your freedom by serving God. How can you best serve God? By serving others. The context in which Peter wrote those words is Christians living in a world that is apathetic at best to their faith, and more likely actively antagonistic. Peter’s advice was not to let outside influences keep you from exercising your freedom, and you exercise your freedom in serving God by serving others. Even still today we see movements and people seeking to deter the freedom of the Jesus follower. Don’t let them. Be bold. Be courageous. And in this day when we celebrate freedom, exercise is by serving God.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for freedom, which we celebrate as a nation today. Forgive me for the times I embrace my freedom as though it was a solitary privilege. Help me to exercise my freedom by serving you as I serve others. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.