Independence Day. We celebrated last month with fireworks, parades and picnics. We wore red, white and blue proudly and we should. We have been born into a country that shook off the chains of tyranny and put on the cloak of freedom. Men and women throughout American history have fought to maintain that freedom and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. I am proud to be an American. But I also live with a freedom that can never be taken away from me – no Politician, no invading army, and definitely no entity can touch it. I am a child of God and it is that truth that makes me free!

Many are in bondage and don’t even know it. We think we are flexing our right to choose - that we are the masters of our destiny, but think about it:

1. Does this ‘freedom’ benefit anyone other than you? 
That’s not freedom that’s selfishness infringing on the freedom of others. 

2. Does your version of freedom build you up, encourage you, edify you or does it come with doubt? 
True encouragement doesn’t belittle. True encouragement frees you from doubt and gives assurance. 

3. In times of trouble does it bring you peace or is it the very reason your life is in turmoil?
Lies beget lies and confusion. Fear and confusion reign when trusting in a freedom without a foundation. 

4. Once you’ve practiced your ‘freedom’ are you filled with self-loathing or self-satisfaction? 
Again that ‘self’ word and we live in a world where no man is an island unto himself.  

5. Can your freedom be taken from you by outside circumstances?  
Laws can change. What is freedom today can be the very thing that steals your freedom tomorrow. 

"They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved." 2 Peter 2:19

Once upon a time I thought I was free. I did what I wanted with very little thought of how it affected others...I was a liberated woman! I lived in a lie that freedom meant feeling good about myself using whatever means it took to accomplish that without worrying about consequences or who it hurt. But one day someone told me the truth. They loved me enough to make me look at my life and the emptiness of it. It was as if I was living a life of shadows and darkness and a spotlight was revealing the reality around me. What I saw made me ashamed. 

"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." John 3:19-21

I struggled for a long time trying to understand how a perfect God could ever understand or much less forgive a broken woman like me. As I looked around at the splinters of my life I wondered why He would want me. I had nothing to offer. In fact, I was convinced there was nothing good in me. Imagine my dismay when I realized that was absolutely true!

I tried to figure out ways to become worthy of honor. What I found was that my feeble attempts were not only pointless but unnecessary. And more than anything I wanted to know and understand truth. My life, up to that point, was covered in lies. How could I ever understand and recognize truth?

Slowly, steadily my Lord Jesus revealed Himself to me through His word, through people who love the Lord with all that they are and who love me, not because of who I am, but in spite of that. Their lives became examples of how to live in truth, how my sins once forgiven cannot be counted against me and that true repentance meant never visiting that sin again - not in thought, word or deed. Nothing I did would ever take the love of Christ from me. In other words I was given a writ of freedom.

"For the death He died He died to sin, once for all; but the life He lives He lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus."
Romans 6:10-11

No one had ever loved me like that before. The truth of His Word, the simple yet absolute truth of the Bible stopped me in my tracks. Then came the day at church when I realized that, even though I had accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I hadn't surrendered my life to him, just parts of it. As I sang out my worship to Him, I could feel shackles falling from me and the ice I had formed around my heart shattered. I gasped as I read, at that same service, John 4:1-29 and saw myself in the woman at the well, and wept with the happy realization that, like that woman who ran telling all who could hear, I must do the same!

"Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?" John 4:29

Absolute truth and absolute freedom is in the saving grace in Jesus Christ. Live in truth and you will find true freedom. It will cost you nothing, the price has already been paid.

"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, 'If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32

by Eve Montano