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Happy Fourth of July

One of Jay Leno’s most popular segments on the “Tonight Show” was called “Jaywalking.” Jay would interview random people on the street and ask about popular topics. The answers were often hilarious.

What Does the Fourth of July Mean to You?

Imagine such an interview today asking the question “What does the Fourth of July mean to you?” I have to wonder if some of the top answers might be:

  • A day off from work
  • Cookouts
  • Parades
  • The Peachtree Road Race
  • Fireworks

We might not hear many answers like:

  • Freedom from British rule
  • The Boston Tea Party
  • The Declaration of Independence
  • George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Paul Revere
  • A government of the people, by the people, for the people

What Does Being a Christian Mean to You?

Now imagine asking people at your church this question: “What does being a Christian mean to you?” We might well hear answers like:

  • God loves me
  • I’ll go to Heaven when I die
  • He wants me to be happy
  • I am a friend of God
  • He will hear and answer my prayers

Wonderful answers, and certainly true. However, there is so much more! Would that we might hear answers like:

  • Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me
  • Praise the Lord for setting me free from a life of sin and shame
  • I am a new creation, old things have passed away, everything is new
  • I count everything but loss that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection
  • I was a slave to sin but now I am a slave to righteousness
  • I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live, yet  not I but Christ lives in me
  • This life is now about that life
  • My treasure isn’t here, it is being laid up in Heaven

The Importance of Salvation

Salvation is a one-time event in the life of a believer. We are born again as pictured in Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. That begins the lifelong process of sanctification wherein we grow and change into spiritual maturity. This is pictured in the Israelites systematically conquering the Promised Land.

Perhaps one of the most important passages teaching this principle is:

Then Jesus said to those Jews which had believed on Him, “If you continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed, and ye shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make ye free.” (John 8:31-32)

Not all of the twelve tribes of Israel who left Egypt crossed over the Jordan to enter Canaan. In fact, the tribes of Reuben, Dan, and half of the tribe of Manasseh were perfectly content to stay in the wilderness. (They were lovers, not fighters.) 

Fighting For Our Salvation

There are many Christians who are truly saved, born-again and going to Heaven. However, they’re perfectly content to stay in the barren plains of this world and not go on to the spiritual maturity of the land promised to them.  

As with the Israelites, it is hard work. There are battles to be fought and spiritual enemies to be conquered. As Paul told the church at Corinth:

Thanks be to God who leads us, wherever we are, on Christ’s triumphant way and makes our knowledge of Him spread throughout the world like a lovely perfume! (2 Corinthians 2:14)

The Victory of Our Salvation

Living the Christian life requires a thousand choices a day. To show love for Him by trust and obedience. Allowing His Word to guide our every step. Walking by faith and not by sight. Our relentless enemies remain the world, the flesh, and the devil. But our Lord Jesus will faithfully lead us to victory each and every time as we choose to follow Him.

It is through these hard-fought battles that our one-on-one personal relationship with Him develops as we grow to love, know, and trust Him more. As Sun Tsu said many years ago in his epic “The Art of War”:

If you know yourself, and you know your enemy, you need not fear the outcome of a thousand battles. If you know yourself but you do not know your enemy, for every victory you will suffer a defeat. If you do not know yourself and you do not know your enemy, you will succumb in every battle.

Happy Independence Day!