July 4th is the day we Americans set aside to celebrate the birth of our nation, the ideals it represents, and the freedoms we enjoy
But for many American Christians, the recent Supreme Court ruling will hang like a dark cloud over this year’s Independence Day festivities. And in a very real sense, this response is appropriate. The marring of the meaning of marriage is a calamity whose repercussions will likely be more far-reaching and destructive than most of us understand now. And it will likely have serious future implications for churches and other Christian institutions.
It’s helpful for us to take a moment to reflect on what true freedom really is and what it means for us ex-patriots of the kingdom of heaven to love and celebrate America, even with all her grievous defects.
What does it really mean to be free?
In the American sense, freedom is the ability to pursue one’s self-determined happiness with minimal constraints imposed by others or by the state. Tyranny is any external force that inhibits the pursuits of one’s internal desires.
Christian freedom is very different. According to Scripture, the worst tyranny is one’s errant, self-determined, internal desires and the greatest freedom comes from submitting to an external force: God. Here’s how Jesus said it: