Monday, July 3, 2017

What does authentic Independence look like?

As we reflect on independence this again year, perhaps it is time to ask what it really means for Christians in the 21st century.  Is independence just the freedom from external coercion, or the ability to choose whatever I want, whenever I want it?

Self-seeking comes naturally,
and Jesus reminds us of its natural results:
"Whoever finds his life will lose it..."
(Mt 10:39a). 

Christian freedom involves a new way of living out our lives. It is the recognition that our very existence is itself a gift--one which is meant to be received with gratitude and then given away.  It is the acknowledgment that new life in Christ has been freely poured out upon us, and so we should freely pour it forth in return.
Self-giving comes supernaturally,
and Jesus reminds us of its supernatural results:
"Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Mt 10:39b).

Christian freedom is a liberation from fear, since the Lord promises to be with us always.  It is a exodus from slavery to self, since the Lord guarantees the grace to live as beloved children of God. It is a defeat of deadly sins, since the Lord commits himself to silencing all the storms which threaten to swamp our souls.

Christ-centered living enables us to choose the good,
to know the true and to bask in the beautiful. 

It requires recognition of our interdependence with others and all of creation, just as it demands the humility to acknowledge our dependence on the One who continues to create, redeem and sanctify us.

True freedom comes shaped like a cross because it requires that we will what's best for the other. True freedom is always a pouring out of love, since it embraces Jesus' own commitment of putting God and others before self..

Let's pray that this Independence Day provides a new opportunity for Christians around the country to love God and neighbor self-sacrificially, to the greater glory of God!