On July 4, 1776 leading colonists of North America adopted the Declaration of Independence which had been signed a couple of days earlier. That declaration of independence from the control of England is accepted as the beginning of the United States of America. Up until this time a dependence had been upon the rule and support of the English government personified by the King. As you will also know, the independence was not fully recognized until after a war had to be fought with many lives lost. The fact of independence is that achieving and maintaining such comes at a great price.

Americans celebrate every year on the fourth of July. Perhaps you will enjoy some good food, a fireworks show, and time with family and friends. Many rejoice in their independence, but independence is not always virtuous. Independence from God is to be spiritually dead. It can also be argued that no one is completely independent (Rom. 14:7). A faithful Christian “lives unto the Lord.” Everyone has to have help some time. You did not enter this world by yourself, and you have not truly lived by yourself. If nothing else a parent has helped you, and without air, sunshine, and rain which come from God, you could not exist. Some take on an independent attitude of needing nothing and no one—a very false, arrogant attitude to be sure. The Laodiceans were condemned for such an independent attitude (Rev. 3:17). God said they were actually miserable, poor, blind, and naked! The fact is everyone depends upon someone to get through this life. The wise realize from whom all blessings flow and follow Him. They also realize the importance of family, friends, and neighbors to help along life’s way.

With the above observed, it would seem more appropriate to celebrate liberty. Liberty is freedom to determine the way you want to live. Liberty to be successful must have a basis in law as penned “Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law” by Katherine Lee Bates in America the Beautiful. Liberty can be misused and abused. If one has liberty of decision, then a bad decision can be made just as easily as a good one. The difference is the objective moral standard of right and wrong. Objective [sure and unchanging] as opposed to subjective which can change at a whim. It’s a subjective standard many seem to think they want, but as it has been observed “a subjective world is to sail on a sea with no sea coast” nor waypoint of navigation. You do not want to live in that world. The one Being who makes all the difference is God. Without Him there is no objective right or wrong, and everyone does that which is right in his/her own sight (Judg. 21:25). Liberty to choose and follow that which is right is liberty which yields eternal blessings, gives peace that passes all understanding, and a satisfaction of living few ever really know (Matt.7:13-14).

Celebrate liberty knowing that with it comes great responsibility. Rejoice in the Creator Who desires all to be free and come to a knowledge of Truth (I Tim. 2:4). Enjoy your freedom in Christ.

-David Hill, President of Tennessee Bible College