With the celebration this weekend of Independence Day, we remember that God’s mercy can be witnessed in both the freedom he offers us . . . and the way he loves us.
Freedom is a big deal in the Gospel. However, freedom in the New Testament means something very different from the way we commonly understand that word today.
When Jesus says that, “The truth will make you free” (John 8:36), he does not mean free to simply pursue material possessions, successes and satisfactions or to gratify our every impulse and whim.
All these ultimately fade away. It’s when we buy into the idea that we have a “right” to be happy that we fool ourselves at the cost of failed relationships, unsatisfying ambitions, dispirited lives.
Jesus gives freedom a deeper meaning—freedom from the burden of excessively pursuing material attachments. Freedom from self-absorption, so we can discover the joy of serving others and thereby store up treasures “where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:20)
Paula Huston writes in A Season of Mystery that Jesus is the way to inner, lasting happiness. Contentment, she writes, comes by valuing ourselves as our merciful God does—simply for who we are.
This is the freedom offered by Jesus.
Our prayer today: Lord Jesus, we thank you for loving us just as we are and for teaching us the way to true freedom and true joy.