Former Presidents, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Monroe all died on July 4th. Ironically, both Jefferson and Adams died on the exact same day, July 4, 1826. This also happened to be the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a document that Adams and Jefferson had an integral part in designing.
On July 4th, we celebrate our Independence as a country by blowing stuff up, eating a lot, and singing patriotic songs. I think most Americans would be honest to say that a little hair stands up on the neck every 4th just thinking about the honor it is to live in the United States. However, I wonder how much appreciation most really have for those who died so that July 4th could be possible?
Those who have close connections to military or have served in wars have a much easier time not taking freedom for granted. They've witnessed sacrifice. But more than that, the battles have not only been fought in the last 11 years, battles were fought before July 4, 1776 and consistently after until the present day. While the celebration of the 4th bring happiness to so many, it has brought clouds of darkness and bitterness to others.
Either way, its a reminder of the expensive price tag that freedom carries. I love freedom. I'm thankful for it as an American, and I'm thankful for it as a Jesus follower. The cost for spiritual freedom was also not cheap. A single man died for that cause. That's why every day is a celebration of Jesus.
In regards to freedom, physically and spiritually, how are we to act? Did people fight wars and die for the cause so that generations would take full advantage of every opportunity that freedom has to offer to live lives pleasing to themselves? Honestly, I believe that type of thinking makes the price seem like a ripoff. Freedom isn't about taking advantage of everything so that you can create the best life for yourself. Freedom is about having the opportunity to live for something greater than yourself. Its living for others. Its living for God. Some may be tempted to view this as slavery. However, slavery is having no choice to cater to the master's needs. Freedom is being able to make the choice to serve others and serve God so that all can have joy in living free. Freedom is fighting for the cause, not reaping the benefits of the cause. Freedom is pursuing the Kingdom, not just reaping the benefits of the Kingdom. After all, it doesn't make sense that you would pursue one thing, and simply reap the benefits of something completely opposite.
1 Peter 2:16 says, "Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God."