There are a number of different traditions that can be associated with the celebration of the 4th of July. Maybe your family celebrates with fireworks; joining in on the pyrotechnic fascination that has awed people for centuries. Perhaps your family has a cookout and you will consume one of the over 150 million hot dogs that will be consumed in America. You might even try to eat along side with Joey Chestnut who ate 74 hot dogs last year to win the the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Competition. Maybe you will just spend a day with your loved ones on the lake, soaking in the sun on a gorgeous summer day.
Regardless of what traditions you may partake in, the 4th of July is widely known as a day for Americans to celebrate freedom. Freedom that took shape almost 250 years ago. Freedom that many have sacrificed their very lives so we can celebrate today.
As Christians we also celebrate a level of freedom that leads to action.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 (NIV)
Paul teaches us that Jesus wants us to celebrate in our freedom. Freedom from the yoke of slavery that sin burdened us with. Celebrate that He has won victory over death. Good has overcome evil. Evil is around us everyday, but because of what Jesus has done we can now choose good. Our call to action in response is to choose love, mercy, kindness, compassion, mercy, and grace. How can we, in response to Christ setting us free, love others around us well?
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Romans 5:13-14 (NIV)
So as you celebrate with your family and friends this 4th of July, look for ways that you can love others well. Maybe that is an estranged family member that you actually invite this year. Maybe it is a broken friendship that needs mending. Maybe it is a complete stranger that you invite into your home for a hot dog.
Happy 4th of July!