In our continuing Artists In Community series, we went out and asked artists a number of questions about our nation's annual birthday celebration. The response was so huge, that we've turned this into a three part series, each with a specific topic of discussion.
In this final round, we asked artists to reflect on freedom in Christ as we celebrate freedom within our own nation. The response we received were an amazing reminder after reminder that our identity lies in Christ, and Christ alone. And in that identity, true freedom awaits.
While we enjoy reading what artists are thinking about the holidays, we love reading your thoughts as well, so don't forget to post your own answers below in the comments section.
Enjoy a safe and fun Fourth of July holiday!
- RETURN TO PART 2: FIREWORKS AND EXPLOSIVES
- START AT PART 1: CELEBRATING OUR NATION
Q: 4th of July is a celebration of freedom. How do you find true freedom in Christ throughout your everyday living?
Jonathan Steingard (Hawk Nelson):
For me, the greatest freedom is knowing that my sins are truly forgiven and forgotten in God's eyes. Accepting salvation means all my sins are washed away, past, present, and future! Amazing!
Justin Benner (Hawk Nelson):
For me, true freedom in Christ comes from constantly reminding myself that my identity comes from Him and Him alone! It's so easy in our culture to always be comparing yourself to other people or trying to measure up to the standards of the world, when all of that gets you nowhere and only leads to dead ends. I have to tell myself on a daily basis that my identity stems from what Christ did for me and everyone on Calvary and that building on my faith and relationship with Him is the only way to experience true freedom!
I've never felt more free than when I've enslaved myself as a servant of Christ's. It's quite ironic really. But, trusting his will, his provision and his protection is where we can find true freedom.
Chris Brink (The Museum):
Christ has set us free from the bondage of sin, and we enjoy that freedom through the Holy Spirit's work in our lives. Sin and death have no hold on those of us who've submitted to the calling of God. Therefore we don't have to be dragged down by the sin that tempts us, and we have the hope of an eternity that we will be able to spend with Jesus, who's blood made the way for our freedom in Him.
David Zach (Remedy Drive):
I think that celebrating freedom is important. We do it once a year to recognize our country’s freedom, but hopefully more than once a year. Get-togethers with watermelon and fireworks help me remember how blessed I am to live in a free country. In the same way, I think it's important to have regular celebration of our spiritual freedom and the fact that we don't have to live in bondage to a system of guilt, fear and doubt. One way we're reminded of our country’s freedom is in singing songs like “America The Beautiful,” and other patriotic songs. I know this might sound kind of obvious for someone who writes songs to respond this way, but I believe songs are an important way for us to regularly celebrate our freedom because the King purchased our freedom and gave us a second chance.
Todd Larson (An Epic, No Less):
That's the beauty of the New Testament. It IS freedom. I try to always remember the book of Hebrews, about how Jesus saved us from the law. Christ is our Temple, our sacrament, our priesthood and our holy day.
A relationship with Christ is the ultimate freedom! I find freedom everyday in repenting and knowing that Christ forgives me of my sins and His hand of redemption is at work, restoring and strengthening my heart!
One of my favorite quotes from Corrie Ten Boom speaks of the importance of forgiving others. She said, "To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you." There was a time when I was faced with the seemingly impossible task of forgiving someone who had deeply wounded me. I knew I didn't want to remain stuck with bitterness and resentment, so I cried out to God to teach me how to forgive. Over time, as I repeatedly chose to speak God's Word aloud in my situation, I eventually experienced true freedom in Christ through the power of forgiveness. He set me free and changed my life forever. And that's something to celebrate!
Joshua Schmidt (Canopy Red):
Remembering that I am forgiven and can't get hung up about the past or my shortcomings or let it keep me from freedom with Christ.
I find that celebrating Independence Day as a Christian is actually celebrating our 'dependence' on Him. God's hand has blessed America to have certain freedoms of worship expression. I cannot fully enjoy the 4th of July without being reminded we live in a blessed nation.
Very simple. I realize the blood of Christ was shed for me. I have the freedom of knowing that I’m forgiven no matter how often I fail.
Laura Allen (No Other Name):
I don't have to be enslaved to my own flesh. Christ lives in me! And I am beyond thankful that He allowed me to be born in a place where I can worship Him openly.
Sam Allen (No Other Name):
I'm free to live in a manner to honors Christ but when I fail, I always have grace extended to me. It's comforting to know that I have a God who offers grace to me.
Chad Smith (No Other Name): As Christians, we should spend time in the Word daily. God speaks to us through it and gives direction for our walk. We should also spend time in prayer daily. Talk to God instead of at Him & seek His will in every move we make. We should be constantly aware of His presence and should not hesitate to turn to Him at any time. That's how you find true freedom in every day life.
Jason Bare: I believe that "Freedom in Christ" is something that is realized daily in our worship and personal relationship with God. Through every season of the year, be it good or bad, we must realize that Christ is our ultimate Warrior, and it is HE that has paid the highest price so that we may be free indeed. True freedom in Christ comes when we celebrate HIM in-spite of our feelings or circumstances!
Yancy: Understanding that He created me on purpose. The Bible says he knit me together in my mother's womb. When I am who God created me to be in life, then it's easier to rest in the freedom we have been given through Christ. Realizing that God has a plan for my life has made all the difference in so many areas of my life.
Karyn Williams: One of my favorite songs on my upcoming record is a song called "This Is Freedom." It's a very personal song for me and I usually end up in tears singing it because it is so meaningful. Before I answered the call to pursue a music ministry I spent a lot of years quietly frustrated, living a life and working in jobs that I wasn't all that passionate about. I felt trapped and guilty for some of my decisions that had landed me there. What I have come to find is that a lot of us feel this way--especially women. We wake up every day, slap a smile on our face and do our best to fool the world, but inside we're in pain. We feel stuck, many times shameful and unable to feel true freedom. For me, Independence Day is about so much more than corn on the cob & bar-b-que's. What our American flag represents is important, no doubt, but there is a bigger freedom that God gave us when He sent his son Jesus to die on the cross and pay for our sins. He gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we could be free, and it's up to us whether or not we accept that freedom. When I finally let go of the guilt of my yesterdays and allowed God's grace to cover my tomorrows, I found the freedom that He longs to give us all. It's the greatest news in the world, and the best part is that it is not a temporary freedom--it's for all eternity.
Jordan Elias: I find that freedom in Messiah is characterized by the taking up of the Cross (dying to the desires of an earthly existence and finality-because paradise is the final destination of a Saint bound to the heart of Messiah) and actualized by practicing the disciplines and principles that Yeshua (Jesus) taught His disciples. First, through repentance and producing fruit worthy of that repentance. Second, practicing or acknowledging the presence of the Spirit of God, "For where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." And third, walking in the goodness and severity of God, that is Love. Walking in truth gives way to a clean conscience in which liberty of the soul is a byproduct and the peace of God rules and reigns in your members. And walking in the Light [Yeshua] one learns to love God. By that love we can learn to love ourselves as God does and only then can we truly 'love our neighbor' as we love ourselves the way God loves them (i.e. enough to lay our lives down for one another as Yeshua has done for us).
Jenny Somers (Jenny & Tyler): Seeking the approval of people instead of God's is one of our biggest struggles. When we choose to believe that our identity is that of a son or daughter of the King rather than worrying about whether people like us or our music, we find true freedom.
Andy Needham (Andy Needham Band): As Americans, the 4th of July is a time to celebrate and remember our independence as nation. Our liberty in this country is the result what others have given. The vision of our forefathers and the sacrifice of our military has made the provision for me and my family to live in freedom. Freedom in Christ is ultimate freedom. I am liberated from sin and shame. I am free to find my worth and identity not in what I do, but in what Jesus has done for me. And like our national freedom, it is not something I accomplished on my own. Jesus alone secured my freedom. As the old song says, "Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe."
James Mileti (The Sunrise): The Sunrise has a song called "I Have Freedom" on our first CD titled Spread The Word. Freedom through Christ is acheived when you lay your life on the alter and say "God, whatever you want me to do, I'll do." This isn't always what WE want, but when you submit your life to God, you have true freedom.
Justin Rizzo: I think one of the best ways to live in freedom and maintain it in everyday life is through honesty. I need to be honest with myself about how I’m really doing with the Lord, and be honest with those one or two close friends around me while allowing them to support me and pray for me. Also, in giving thanks. I live a life of praise when I recount the ways that by His word I have been changed.
Michael Milton (Author): The truth of Christ in His Word brings freedom. That is the truth that sets us free, to live, love, remember and look to a future that in Christ brings hope and optimism, new life, and eternal life.
Perry LaHaie: Every day I thank the Lord for his forgiveness and the freedom His forgiveness brings. Each day I thank him for the power to forgive myself, that is, to accept his free gift and not punish myself because he has taken my punishment for me. And I thank him for the power to forgive those who’ve sinned against me and also for the power to let go of all my self-righteous striving and to embrace the righteousness of Christ alone. This is true freedom and it’s not a feeling. It’s a decision I make each day based on what God’s word promises!
Victoria Griffith (Author): My "five days a week job" as a high school English teacher can be challenging, as with any job. My freedom in Christ allows me to stand strong as a Christian woman, and be the example that so many of my students don't have at home. I've been privileged to discuss God's wonderful acts in my life. Most of them know that I was diagnosed with a brain tumor right after I discovered that I was pregnant. They see now that I'm healthy and so is my daughter Molly. Many of my students ask me how I made it through, and I can confidently reply, "God."
David Teems (Author): Christ is my independence day. He is my Mayflower, my new world. He is my declaration of independence, my champion in the face of even the subtlest tyranny. He is the steady drumbeat, all the charges of fire and heat in me.