America's forefathers declared the Colonies had become "Free and Independent states" - free from tyrannical rule and abused power, free to worship, free to speak, free to gather peacefully, free to hold their government accountable.
And we've learned through many wars and wounds that freedom is not free. Men and women have spilled their blood to pursue and protect our freedom. There is a blood-price on freedom.
Because, to declare freedom is one thing, but to pursue it is another thing entirely.
So it is in our lives. Do you feel free?
Free to live as your Creator designed you? Free to worship in spirit and in truth? Free from lies that tell you you aren't worthy or that you have to work harder to earn your way into God's favor?
We rightly honor the millions who have laid down their lives for American freedom. Let's also recognize the One who has laid down His life for our eternal freedom. The One who substitutes Himself for us so that we can be counted as worthy, living in favor and relationship with God. The One who helps us strip away whatever is inauthentic to our design.
As simply as civilians in America can receive the freedom bought by the blood and sweat of our veterans, you and I can receive the freedom purchased by the blood of Jesus.
We don't have to earn it. We never could even if we tried. We simply have the choice to receive or reject it.
I'm deeply thankful for the freedom I've had growing up in these United States - that freedom I haven't earned myself. But even more than that, I'm eternally thankful for the freedom God has given me through Jesus to live as He desires and designs.
We don't have to live bound by lies and oppression. We don't have to live bound in fear or despair.
"Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." (2 Corinthians 3:17)
What choice will you make today? Will you choose to live free?