Celebrate Freedom

by Lt. Colonel Cindy-Lou Drummond

Independence! Freedom! These two words hold tremendous power and significance—for teenagers and for countries. We celebrate July Fourth because this was the day in 1776 when the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, a document of profound transformative power. In a bold move, the 13 American colonies declared they had severed their political connection with Great Britain. This decision transformed history and defined the United States as a nation. 

Independence and freedom, while universally celebrated, do not hold the same meaning for everyone. At an Independence Day celebration, Frederick Douglass, a former slave, posed a provocative question on July 5, 1852: “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” His point was clear—the architects of the Declaration of Independence may have had a vision of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” but this was not the reality for every American. This independence was imperfect, and the freedom it promised was not universal.  

Independence and freedom should go hand in hand for everyone. Sadly, this is not true for humanly constructed independence and freedom; it is imperfect. We are human, and all of humanity is born with a sinful nature. This sinful nature is oppressive and holds us hostage. Jesus makes this clear in John 8:34–36: “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  

This freedom that the Son brings is absolute freedom. It is not dependent on ethnicity or race, male or female, economic status, or any other category. This freedom is for everyone. 

Curiously, the freedom that Jesus, the Son, brings does not go with absolute independence. Yes, in repenting of sin and receiving forgiveness, Jesus is our Declaration of Independence from the oppression of sin. He has the profound transformative power to sever our relationship with sin. We then become dependent on Him; nevertheless, we gain independence from the slavery of sin. This is the paradox that George Matheson wrote about in his 1890 hymn:  

Make me a captive, Lord,
And then I shall be free.
Force me to render up my sword
And I shall conqueror be.
I sink in life’s alarms
When by myself I stand;
Imprison me within thine arms,
And strong shall be my hand.

My will is not my own
Till thou hast made it thine;
If it would reach a monarch’s throne,
It must its crown resign.
It only stands unbent 
Amid the clashing strife
When on thy bosom it has leant,
And found in thee its life. 

This is a mystery, yet it is the only way to eternal freedom.  

It is easy to be lured into accepting what the world has to offer regarding independence and freedom. Make sure Jesus is your Declaration of Independence, celebrate independence from sin and the evil in this world, and celebrate the eternal freedom we have as children of the King.