Terry R Baughman is Lead Pastor for LifeChurch in Gilbert, AZ. See his complete bio at trbaughman.com
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Longing for Freedom
Passion for Liberty
Terry R. Baughman
“If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36 NKJ).
Something in our DNA gives us a longing for freedom. Once we have experienced freedom after having endured bondage there is an insatiable desire to cast off the chains of oppression and walk in liberty. Ruthless regimes of tyranny and authoritarian leadership often live in fear of the masses turning against them to thwart their plans and overthrow their control. If enough people unite in their rejection of subjugation rebellion ensues and there is a strong cry for independence. This has been the story of humanity throughout millennia.
The lessons of the Exodus and the victorious deliverance from the taskmasters of Egypt have provided inspiration to many people suffering subjugation and the oppression of slavery. “Let my people go,” became the rallying cry of those who resisted enslavement and sought for justice against repression.
In the formation of our own country of the United States of America we are inspired by the courage of those who resisted domination of British forces. The cry of Patrick Henry resonates in our own hearts as he stated his bold declaration, “Give me liberty or give me death.” This was not mere rhetoric or a political speech. It was the cry of urgency in the Virginia Convention as he sought to mobilize the colonists to revolt against the tyranny of the British. He asked them, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?” He then answered his own question, “Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
The speech by Patrick Henry must have resonated with the colonists because a little over a year later the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia. Courageous signers of the document confirmed their own commitment to the cause, and for some it became a death sentence. According to news commentator Paul Harvey, “Of the 56 signers of the Declaration, few were long to survive. 5 were captured by the British and tortured before they died, 12 had their homes … sacked and looted, occupied by the enemy or burned. Two of them lost their sons in the Army; one had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 died in the War from its hardships or from its more merciful bullets.” He said, “They had learned that liberty is so much more important than security, that they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.”
In a more recent example of such courage in defense of freedom is the country of Ukraine. When the Russian armies converged on multiple fronts and attempted a rapid overthrow of the smaller nation, most of the world believed the Ukrainians would evacuate and surrender to the opposing forces. The US offered assistance to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky for safe passage out of the country and into exile. His response revealed unexpected courage and inspired the nation of Ukraine to resist the onslaught of Russian missiles and artillery launched from approaching ground forces. Zelensky said, “I don’t need a ride I need ammunition!” The bravery exhibited by thousands of Ukrainians have illustrated the passion with which they value their independence and are willing to fight for liberty from an authoritarian state.
Let us exhibit the same courage as we proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the message that promises the greatest liberty of all, freedom from sin and release from the bondage of spiritual oppression! Jesus promises freedom like no other … and, “If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36 NKJ).
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18 NKJ).