Now that the July 4th celebrations, picnics, and fireworks displays are behind us, I began to wonder what constitutes real freedom. This year we had the privilege of honoring another summer celebration that is especially significant to African Americans, Juneteenth. President Biden signed the bill, quite expeditiously, that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States as a holiday to be celebrated on June 19th. Although this was major in its recognition of the heinous acts of a human race that was subjected to all manor of cruelty and unimaginable demands of labor, to some it is just another summer holiday.
I support and recognize most of the major holidays, however now more than ever I feel it is important to determine what they mean to me personally. So, as I reflected on this past July 4th, Independence Day, I asked myself the question, am I really free? Yes, I have the freedom to go where I choose to go, purchase the things I can afford, live where I want to live, and can exercise my right to vote, but when I examine who I am as a person what does being free entail. If my mind isn’t free, then in a sense I am enslaved to that which holds me captive. The awful thing about being held captive in a mental state is that one has a tendency to ignore the captor. As one of my pastors used to say, “let it die for lack of attention”. The only thing about that resolution is in most instances it does not die, it lies dormant or even worse, has the potential to fester. In many cases we hold ourselves captive due to past mistakes or even opportunities we let slip between our fingers and we later realize how much different our life would have been had we made a different decision.
I believe that we can only be absolutely free if we understand who we really are. The discovery of that identity is only found through relationship with the Father. The Father would have never created us with brilliant minds, and boundless creativity if He did not want us to be really free in our expression of the same. It is the limitations we place on ourselves which oftentimes create unnecessary boundaries. Those boundaries are diametrically opposed to the Word of God which states in Philippians 4: 13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”. I know sometimes we get tripped up in our interpretation of this scripture. One might conclude that no one can do ALL things. But I think when you reach that conclusion you are only focusing on the first part of the verse. I would rather suggest that I can do ALL the things that Christ strengthens me to do! Therefore, if we are attempting to do something and we are leaving Christ out of the equation and proceeding with our own sufficiency and know how then it is subject to fail or have short term success. It is by His strength, accompanied by His will that we can and should do great things!
When we look deep inside ourselves, we most assuredly will find that so much of what the Father placed within us to accomplish (those greater works the Bible speaks of), we will find that we are only scratching the surface. As I am writing I can already tell that there should and will be a part 2. I have watched the movie Harriet several times, not only because it is an awesome movie, but also because my granddaughter watches all or a part of it every time she happens to find it showing. My mind is intrigued and also saddened by those who Harriet Tubman tried so desperately to lead to freedom, some even in her own family were afraid to run. She was unable to get them to realize their freedom was far more important than remaining in the confines of an “owner” whose only promise was shelter and food, and oftentimes they reneged on that. They owed their slaves nothing, but the slaves owed them their very lives. That kind of slavery no longer exists in our society, or at least it is against the law! However, a personal characterization of slavery which is far worse is alive and apparent in every person who refuses to explore every freedom deemed to be our God-given privilege and right!
I look forward to discussing further in two weeks the subject which will hopefully cause you to consider if you are REALLY FREE! Until then, may God’s abundant blessings be yours.