What does independence and liberty mean to you? It depends on who you ask, doesn’t it?
• To a United States veteran, it might mean living in the land of the free, because he or she fought for this land through their injuries, blood, sweat and tears. Sacrificing personal abundance in order to secure abundance for so many others.
• To a slave, it means no longer living under the brutal oppression of a master and instead being able to independently live to make choices, making one’s own way in life.
• For a teenager, it means finally being able to leave the house, make their own decisions and live their own life transitioning into an adult life.
• To a hard-working American, it means finally being able to remove all the burdens of work by going on vacation to someplace tropical like Hawaii or perhaps a cruise, not having a care in the world but relaxation and solace.
• To someone in jail or prison, it means no more close quarters to live in, strict rules to live by and other inmates to deal with, but instead the opportunity to become a normal citizen once again.
July is the month we celebrate the Declaration of Independence, first adopted in 1776. Yearly, this country is reminded of this holiday when our nation became independent, and although we take the time to celebrate by hosting barbecues, watching fireworks and socializing with family and good friends, I often wonder how many of us actually reminisce and meditate on the true origins of Independence Day.
Independence and liberty are words that are synonyms but with a slightly different emphasis. Independence speaks more of having a self-sufficiency or self-reliance, where liberty narrows the focus to the actual state of being free, power to do as one pleases and freedom from physical restraint.
So would a person who has liberty be eager to lose it in exchange for bondage?
Only if the bondage was richer, sweeter and of greater value than the freedom formerly experienced.
In his homeland of Romania, Richard Wurmbrand spent 14 years in a Communist prison enduring severe torture. This evangelical minister went to prison, losing all his independence and liberty for something far richer, sweeter and of greater value than his earthly freedom. His treasure is Christ. Richard and wife Sabina, who was also imprisoned, have written numerous books on their experiences of losing their freedom here on earth while gaining heavenly riches. Their books speak of their testimony of how in the darkest part of losing their earthly liberty, in the midst of their trials as prisoners they found the most sacred liberty that will last through eternity, a deeper, closer, richness in Christ.
During my fall 2010 missions trip to Romania, I had the opportunity to be in a country that did not always know freedom and liberty. Even though liberty is known in the area today, the warm, endearing people of Arad, Bucharest and Timisoara could vividly remember the Romanian revolution in 1989 and all that transpired before and after.
Apostle Paul often refers to himself as a prisoner in the letters he wrote in the New Testament.
He was also willing to give up his earthly freedoms in order to attend heavenly riches. Paul was sent to a Roman prison, enduring all kinds of abuse in exchange for sharing the great riches of Christ.
For Paul, it was an honor to be considered a slave and a prisoner of Christ. He was willingly bold and courageous in losing his temporary freedom on earth to attain liberty for eternity not only for himself, but in order that others might prosper in like manner.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. — Romans 8:2
Eternal liberty is attainable
Would you like to have freedom for eternity and not just here on earth?
Then trade your earthly liberty for eternal life. Seek to deny and submit yourself as a slave, servant and a prisoner of Christ, forsaking the cares of this life and focusing on God’s overall goal and design.
Reconcile yourself to a life of salvation, sanctification and spiritual disciplines a glorious jail cell trading your earthly liberty for eternal life.
Note: For more pictures of Simone’s trip to Romania, contact her on Facebook.
© Copyright 2011 Simone Lake. All Rights Reserved
About the author
Simone Lake is a pastor’s wife and full-time minister, serving in various areas. Her primary areas include Bible teacher and conference speaker (both in the U.S. and internationally). In addition, she writes devotional articles in several publications, is a short-term missionary, author, prayer leader, Bible mentor and chaplain. She holds a master’s degree in Theological Studies (MTS) and attends Church on Randall Place where she serves in various capacities alongside her pastor husband. Simone and her husband enjoy outdoor activities such as kayaking, hiking the Grand Canyon, mountain bike riding and walking their Border collie dog, Scout. For more information, visit www.simonelake.com, http://www. simonelake.blogspot.com or www.facebook.com/ SimoneLake.