...running the course God sets before us, no matter the cost, no matter the task, to the end, for His glory

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Happy Dependence Day

I LOVE the 4th of July.

What a great holiday- fun, games, food, family, and no presents!

This year was a lot of fun and we managed to make it to two different parties. Unfortunately we are living in a place with extreme drought conditions which on the 4th of July means.....No Fireworks. (Clarification- it is not unfortunate that we live here, just unfortunate there is a drought- just wanted to make that clear!)

Sigh. So very, very sad. At least for me, because I LOVE fireworks! Especially if there is patriotic music going on in the background.

July the 4th is a great holiday and a day, as Americans, we celebrate and hopefully feel gratitude for the independence of our country. Americans love being independent and free!

I have been struck at the price at that freedom very strongly this year. Maybe it is because of doing lots of reading on the American Revolution this past school year and realizing the improbable victory with which we were blessed. Maybe it is from knowing families whose husbands or sons or wives or daughters are overseas now and who face danger every day.  There is the danger the military member faces, but also, having been the military spouse left at home I know the loneliness and pain and fear of that position.

I also just read a fantastic book that brought home to me what some have had to endure in the past in order for all of us to have freedom today.  It is a book titled Unbroken and it is an amazing tale of survival amidst unimaginable and interminable pain and suffering.  It is the story of Louis Zamperini who as a boy was in trouble with the law, as a young man was an Olympic runner, and as an adult during World War II was a prisoner of war for years in notorious Japanese prisons.  The stories of his life in those prisons were horrific and the long term consequences of all that suffering could have ruined the rest of his life, but.... well I won't ruin the story for you.  But read it!

I think the convergence of having just read that book and celebrating Independence Day made some verses in Ephesians leap out at me like never before.

When Paul wrote to the Ephesians he was a prisoner in Rome. But instead of complaining of that fact or speaking against the Romans or his situation he does something remarkable- he doesn't even mention them.  Instead he writes this:

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles...  Eph. 3:1


I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called...   Eph 4:1

The Romans just thought Paul was their prisoner. He wasn't. He was Jesus' prisoner.

There are several defining characteristics in the life of a prisoner:

  • You can only go where your captor allows you to go
  • You can only do what your captor tells you to do
  • You must get up when your captor says and sleep when your captor says and work when your captor says
  • Your life is no longer your own- your life belongs to your captor

But the deal was that Paul did not see his captor as the Romans even though there were Roman chains that bound him. Yet he most definitely did recognize that he had a Captor- it is just that his Captor was Jesus.

He was a prisoner of Christ.

And he would go where Jesus told him to go and do what Jesus told him to do and get up, and sleep, and work when Jesus told him to. His life was no longer his own- it belonged to Jesus.

Today, as an American, I celebrate my independence! My freedom!

But today, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I want to proclaim that I am a prisoner. My life is not my own. I am totally and completely dependent upon my Captor.

I will go where He tells me to go.
I will do what He tells me to do.
I will get up, sleep, and work when and how He tells me to.

As Steven Curtis Chapman would say (or rather sing), "This is my declaration of dependence!"

I. Am. A. Prisoner. Of. Jesus. Christ.

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