Today is July 4th. Independence Day. The day American's celebrate our freedom. If you are from the United States, you are probably taking the day to celebrate this freedom in some capacity. As I woke up this morning thinking about this issue of freedom, I thought how it is a double edged sword in our lives. On the one hand, I love it. I love the fact that we are a free country. I love the fact that I have the freedom to write this blog, to worship at church on Sunday, and live openly as a Christian. It is a really good thing. This is the freedom that I am given because of the first amendment:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceable to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
But there is another side to this pursuit of freedom. I think it can find its roots all the way back to the origin of sin in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). What was it that Eve wanted when she took of that fruit? She wanted her freedom. She didn't want to be told what to do. Along with Adam, they ate of that fruit thinking that they would be like God, knowing good and evil. What they didn't realize is that when they took of that fruit, they would enter bondage. Their pursuit of freedom led them to a bondage of sin.
The story goes even go back before them. Satan was once the highest of created beings, but he wanted more. He wanted to be like God. His pursuit of freedom is told in Isaiah 14:13-14, which says:
"You [Satan] said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High."
He was not content with being the highest created being. He wanted to be like God. What was it that he wanted most? I would say, he wanted what we often want. We want to make the rules. We want to have the freedom to do what we want to do. We do not want anyone to tell us what to do. We want our freedom and we wholeheartedly pursue it.
This pursuit of freedom evidences itself so often in the rebellious heart against authority. Kids abort the authority of their parents. Wives go against the authority of their husbands. Employees balk at the authority of their employers. Christians avoid the authority of their pastors. Even Americans despise the authority of their government (which has established this freedom). We simply want more. And we will never be satisfied.
Do you really want freedom? I would argue with you that ultimate freedom comes at the expense of Jesus and the cross. He offers freedom from the bondage of sin. He offers freedom from the rebellious heart. It may seem ironic, but your ultimate freedom will come in giving up of your life and submitting to the Lordship of Jesus. He offers freedom from our pursuit of freedom.