Find God on the 4th of July

By Dianne Neal Matthews:

While celebrating our nation’s beginning on the 4th of July, we can find God and the spiritual freedom that Jesus talked about.


Image: Michael Elliott /

Image: Michael Elliott /

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 (NLT)

Parades, picnics, fireworks, and sales at the mall—we have a lot to choose from on this national holiday. But our observance doesn’t always honor the meaning of our nation’s birthday. The United States was born when the Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence in 1776, signaling our intention to become an independent nation and break ties with Great Britain. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the festivities of the holiday and miss the chance to celebrate the hard-won freedom that we enjoy today.

Many of the Jews who listened to Jesus were so wrapped up in their pride and self-righteousness that they missed the true freedom that He offered. When Jesus said that the truth would set them free, they protested: “We are Abraham’s descendants, and we’ve never been anyone’s slaves. So how can you say that we will be set free?”

Jesus accused them of being slaves to sin. Even though they were physical descendants of Abraham, they were not his spiritual children because they refused to believe in God’s Son. These men had no sense of their bondage to sin, so they did not see how desperately they needed the freedom that the Son offered.

Jesus suffered and died to set us free from sin’s control and Satan’s grip. Once that bondage is broken, we have the freedom to follow God and to be the person He created us to be. But pride, rebellion, legalism, and compromising with sin can keep us from fully living out our freedom in Christ. Through his sacrificial death, Jesus offers us the ultimate Independence Day. But here’s the paradox: in order to experience that wonderful freedom, we have to submit and be dependent on him.

“So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” John 8:36

Do I live in the freedom from sin’s bondage that Jesus died to secure for me?

© Dianne Neal Matthews. Dianne is a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books ( This material is adapted from Drawing Closer to God: 365 Daily Meditations on Questions from Scripture (Baker Books).

Why not take a moment from your Independence Day celebration to watch this video and pray for persecuted Christians who pay a high price for their freedom in Christ?

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