This past weekend, those of us who live in the USA celebrated our nation’s freedom. Each year we commemorate the time when a rag tag team of revolutionaries fought and won against tyranny. It was on July 4, 1776, that representatives from the thirteen colonies gathered to sign the Declaration of Independence. This act, 240 years ago, considered treason by some, solidified the independence of a new sovereign republic.  Today, we celebrate our independence with parades, fireworks, and of course, copious amounts of food. We are, after all, Americans!

Since July 4th fell on a Monday, the whole weekend was one big festivity. My home was filled to the brim with family and friends who gathered around for hamburgers, watermelon, and some good ole American apple pie.  One night we huddled together to watch fireworks and sang an impromptu, yet terribly off-key version of “God Bless the USA.”

When not stuffing our faces or slathering on sun screen there have been moments that I’ve paused to ponder the word, freedom. Freedom is something we as American’s pride ourselves in, and it is something for which we take a stand. It’s in our national DNA …you know, our staunch belief in the fundamental rights of all to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

As much as we believe in national freedom, I wonder if we truly understand what it means to experience personal freedom? Friends, freedom is not just an American concept; it finds its origination in Jesus Christ who came to set the captives free! The greatest emancipation, in all of history, is when King Jesus defeated sin, Satan, death, and darkness … declaring liberty to all who place their faith in Him.

Notice how often this theme is repeated in the Bible:

If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be encumbered once more by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17

For in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2

So often we hear the words that Christ came to “set us free” and they fall on our ears like an old cliché. But what if freedom is more than a Christian bumper sticker or a post we like on social media? What if freedom were our living and breathing reality? How differently would we experience our everyday lives? When I look at my own life and talk with friends and family, I come to this conclusion: All too often freedom is something we believe in, but not something we live in.

For example:

The woman who struggles with shame from her past …  is not walking in freedom.

The woman who lives in bondage to an eating disorder or self-hatred of any form …is not walking in freedom.

The woman who lives in fear … is not walking in freedom.

The woman who harbors unforgiveness towards someone … is not walking in freedom.

The woman who continues to fall into the same sinful pattern, over and over again … is not walking in freedom.

Here’s the truth … I’ve struggled with all of these, and I can tell you one thing for sure, living this way is not God’s best for us.  It is absolute bondage!

Friends, let’s never forget… Jesus came to set the captives free! Therefore, if any area of our lives is marked by defeat, bondage, or oppression then we aren’t living in the fullness that Christ has for us.

So what do we do?

For us to become women who live in freedom, we need to make a radical step and declare a Declaration of Dependence! Yep, you read that right. Unlike our Founding Fathers who drafted the Declaration of Independence, we must do the opposite.  We must come to the place where we affirm our unwavering dependence upon Jesus. Sound crazy? Stick with me.

A Declaration of Dependence brings the greatest freedom of soul because it is wholly reliant upon Christ for everything. After all, Jesus himself said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing!” Dependence declares, “I can’t fix myself. I can’t overcome on my own. I can’t earn my way into grace.” I need Jesus, more and more of Jesus!

To Become Women of Freedom we must be…

Dependent upon His cross to cover our shame.

Dependent upon His healing touch for our wholeness.

Dependent upon His presence to calm our fears.

Dependent upon His power to overcome our enemy.

Dependent upon His truth to liberate our minds.

A Declaration of Dependence is fully identifying ourselves, and every aspect of our being, with the person and power of Jesus Christ. This means actively declaring His truth and triumph when the voices of shame and fear scream in our ears. This means actively calling upon Him for strength when we feel tempted to fall back into sin or when bombarded by the lies of the evil one.

Freedom is found in knowing and resting upon the fact that Jesus is with us, for us, empowering us and defending us in every circumstance we face. It is found in dependence.

The image that comes to mind is a story in the Acts 4 of Peter and the other disciples shortly after Jesus’ resurrection. They were preaching in Jerusalem and as a result, they were thrown into jail for proclaiming Jesus. Stuck in bondage, unable to break free, they worshipped God. Locked behind bars, they could do nothing in their own power to escape. Then, In the middle of the night, the Angel of the Lord, busted open their prison doors, loosened their chains, and led them by the hand out of the prison.  Can you even imagine the exhilaration they felt? Freed from their chains, these men returned to the Temple and began to praise Jesus even more.

When I think of this story I see a picture of our own freedom. There is nothing we can do (in our own power) to bust down the doors of our prison cells. We require the power and presence of God to set us free.  I want you to imagine yourself, right now, hand in hand with Jesus as He busts down the door of your prison and leads you out into freedom.  Whether that prison is an addiction, a sinful pattern, an insecurity, or a bad relationship—Jesus really did come to deliver you!

Redeemed Girl, take His hand. You can’t do it on your own. Declare your dependence~ Let Him lead you out, as you rely upon Him every step of the way.

Marian Jordan Ellis

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