The 4th of July is always a great family day, a day to celebrate our forefathers and their fight for our freedom, but it is also a day for those of us who have battled out of addiction, tragedy or abusive situations to reflect. How did we get to where we are, what was our Pathway To Freedom?
The absolute, but also the most stock answer, is to say through the blood of Jesus who died to redeem us from our messes and distresses - that's truth. But it does no good unless we are willing to accept his gift and work through the residual effects of those situations and how it has affected who we are. Jesus is and always will be Jesus, God who came to earth who was perfection, but also experienced mankind and all its flaws.
We, on the other hand, can want to be like Him, but the things that have shaped our lives are not the same as his. We have sinned, we have led very imperfect lives, and we may be transformed by His grace in due time, but we must walk on that path for him to uncover what took our freedom away, to really live free.
The Pathway To Freedom starts with our dependence on Him, to find the independence from our addictions, etc. We can be set free by him, but we remain arrogant, judgmental, quick to anger, slow to forgive and prone to make bad decisions all the while claiming to be "saved" or "delivered". Those are doors easy to hide our flaws behind, but we know, and he knows, and it shows, believe me.
Our forefathers fought hard to provide our freedom, our Lord paid a very steep price of pain, agony and much disrespect to save us. The least we could do in return is be willing to endure the pain of a change of heart that requires a transplant of faith, forged by the fire of refining. Most of us want the freedom, but we don't want to fight for it.
Instead we microwave it. Ask George Washington about that, mention it to Thomas Jefferson, consult John Hancock or the many African Americans, Indians, and Pirates who fought and died for our freedom in the Revolutionary War (that's right, it was more than white men with wigs). Ask Jesus, how long did it take him the bear the sins of mankind before he died on that cross?
The cost to walk on that path is simply our willingness to change, or we will continue to take detours to nowhere. It's interesting that the cross has an intersection - down, up or stuck in the middle? Pretty sure I know which way to take to that real Pathway To Freedom!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.