Independence Day, a special day for Americans probably not well understood by much of the rest of the world. This day represents for our country the day we declared our independence which gave us the freedom to chart our own course. It gave our leaders the ability to pray, discuss and experiment in this new land of opportunities. The battle comes first then the freedom.
I’ve been thinking about the same concept in my personal life this week. As a person who believes in and is attempting to be a follower of Jesus Christ, I’ve seen battle comes first, then freedom follows. My belief is, when a person sees the great need for forgiveness, and sees life is not all it could be without a connection to God and they open their minds and hearts to embrace Jesus as the only one who can forgive all their stuff and reconnect them to the Father, it happens. We surrender; God accepts us just as we are and starts us on a journey of growth. Every growth point usually will have a battle. The battle is will I surrender this thing, or this way of life to God who knows better than I do which way is best. Will my will or His will be done?
What I’ve discovered about you and me is, we don’t mind bragging about areas we have conquered and experience freedom. We don’t mind being condescending when we don’t struggle with a certain point of battle others do, “I don’t smoke and I don’t chew and I don’t date girls who do!” We don’t mind talking about some of the battle stories as long as some time has passed, “I used to struggle with but now. . .” What we seldom hear is where the tip of the spear is right now! What is the battle I am facing right now? What is God trying to show me? What am I doing that is hurtful, harmful or has the ability to ruin my life? What area have I said, “I really don’t care right now what is right because I want to do this?” All the other battles won are not nearly as significant as the battle I am in at the present! The biblical Christian life is a paradox! On one hand I am declared totally righteous on the merits of what Jesus did for me and on the other hand I battle to grow into what God already declares that I am. These growing pains will go with us to the finish line when finally “we see Him, we will be like Him.”
So, as I look in the mirror this Independence Day, I’m asking, what is my NUMBER 1 battle. Where is the tip of the sword today. What would God love to claim victory over in my life today. What battle could be won in my heart today that would launch me into a new area of freedom? When the Lord sets you and me free, we will be free indeed. But there will always be another battle as we grow toward being more like Jesus.