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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

[DED] Celebrations for July 4 have begun where picnics, parades, and fireworks are all scheduled to take place this week honoring the freedom that our country has acquired.

A Brief History of the Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence, largely written by Thomas Jefferson and a few others including John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert R. Livingston, and Roger Sherman, declared independence for the United States in 1776.

Civilians of the new world, America, were desiring to break away from the chains that Britain had them tied to. The citizens of the new world desired to be free from their chains of British taxes, religious ties, and British rule. Within the Declaration of Independence, the authors write, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Amidst the Revolutionary War and many soldiers dying, the United States desired to fight for freedom. They desired to break the chains and ties they had with Britain. Truly, they desired for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence allowing the United States to break away from the monarchy of the British Empire. The Congress formally adopted this declaration on July 4.

Since 1776, citizens across the United States have celebrated the separation of the United States from Britain. People have celebrated with parades, fireworks, live events with music and bands, picnics, and barbeques, and even large yard sales.

For 248 years, freedom has been celebrated within our country. However, our world is ever-changing, and the question arises as to whether or not we are continuing to truly acknowledge, love, and appreciate our lives that are filled with pure independence and happiness.

The Chains that Hold us Back from Freedom

For our own personal lives, we may have numerous adversities or hardships weighing us down. We could be experiencing grief, loss, heartache, loneliness, or confusion within our daily lives that make us feel like we are not so free. Our hearts, minds, and souls are tied to this heavy weight within our chest daily that we can’t seem to get rid of.

We may feel like we have chains around our hands that are pulling us down constantly. We are pulling, tugging, and begging for someone to set us free, but no one ever seems to answer. We begin to feel hopeless in our lives, and we lose the interest to ever pursue life and the pure happiness that God, our Creator, has all allowed for us to have.

We begin to ignore the offer that God is our stronghold in our times of struggle. In the end, we allow our adversities, hardships, and even sin to diminish our freedom and pursuit of happiness within Christ. Truly, we forget that Christ is our only hope for pure happiness and freedom.

Yes, the United States did write a Declaration of Independence allowing our country to break free from the chains of the British Empire. However, this same freedom of the United States is not the same freedom that God can offer.

The freedom of Christ is beyond what we can fathom. Unfortunately, we have chains in our own personal lives that affect our own personal freedom. It affects our viewpoint of how we see a relationship in Christ. Quite frankly, our own viewpoint of our own personal freedom, whether within Christ or without Christ, can ultimately positively or negatively affect our view of how we see freedom within our country.

Freedom could be dead if heavy chains are prevalent within our lives daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. On the other hand, freedom and the appreciation of independence could flourish and thrive, if we begin to understand, see, and believe what true freedom looks like through a relationship with Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 3:17 in the New Living Translation emphasizes, “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

The Spirit of Lord ultimately helps us to understand what true freedom is and how to break free from the chains that are holding us back from pure freedom and happiness.

The True Meaning of Freedom

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the definition of freedom is, “liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another.”

In our times of struggle, we are seeking freedom from shame, guilt, insecurities, and our pain. We desire to be free from the sin that holds us down, but we soon forget to run to the one who can only break our chains.

Is it possible that, as citizens of America, we are constantly searching for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the wrong areas of our lives? Is it possible that we are forgetting that God is our only true source of freedom from the chains that are weighing us down as a person and as a country?

Galatians 5:1 shares, “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.”

Reflect on what chains are holding you back from experiencing God’s freedom and happiness today. Ask yourself if your specific viewpoints of personal freedom are positively or negatively affecting your viewpoints on our country’s freedom.

If we desire to experience life, liberty, and the pursuit of pure happiness, we have to begin to understand that God, our Creator has given the opportunity to have all of these things without any charge. Like the Declaration of Independence says, God is our Creator and has given us all unalienable rights for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Today and always, remember that freedom has never been free. A sacrifice was made on the cross, through Jesus Christ, for our chains of sin. Through much bloodshed and tears, freedom was earned for this country as well. Picnics, fireworks, and parades are all great celebrations of this freedom given to us, but we must never forget the main source and true meaning of our life, liberty, and pursuit of true happiness.

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