It was summer, 1776, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Delegates from 13 different colonies gathered together to “Mutually pledge to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor” for the support of the Declaration of Independence.
Each man knew the dangers and risks involved as he waited to add his signature to the document. The moment he made this pledge, he committed an act of treason against the British government. Historically, the punishment for treason was death. Even if he wasn’t captured and killed by the British government, he knew that from this day forward he, his family, his businesses, his homes, and his fortune would be targeted for ruin by the British government.
As he stood in line waiting to sign, each man knew that they weren’t just sending a letter to the King of England. They were declaring war. A war they could win or lose. Once he added his name to this document, there was no turning back. He was putting everything on the line for the sake of freedom. Still, fifty-six men from different colonies, backgrounds, professions, and religions signed their name to the Declaration of Independence.
This 4th of July, as I prepare for hot dogs, hamburgers, and fireworks displays, I find myself asking, “Why did they do it? What drove these men to risk losing everything they held dear in their lives for the sake of a freedom they had only yet imagined? Why would they risk their lives, their family’s lives, and everything they had worked toward to declare war on a government that was stronger, richer, and far more powerful than their own?”
The only answer I can find is that these men yearned for freedom more than they anything else in life. They wanted it---they had to have it. So much so, that they risked everything for it. They understood the cost of freedom, and having counted that cost, they pledged to pay whatever price was necessary to be free.
They did it because they understood something we do not---they understood what it meant to live without freedom. When they were presented with the opportunity to be free, they seized the day like a starving man craves food. With their signature’s they screamed, “Whatever it takes, I will pay the price!”
Their tenacity reminds me of a story that Jesus told in Matthew 13.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”
Both of these parables tell similar stories of people who find hidden treasure of immeasurable value. As soon as the find the treasure they decide they must have it. No matter what the cost---they are going to pay it. Like the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, the people in these stories decide that no price is too high to gain the treasure that they seek. Immediately, they lay it all on the line and joyfully sell everything they have to gain their reward.
It would be like going into an abandoned house and finding a letter saying, “The owner of this house will be given 1 billion dollars.” Wouldn’t you go right to the bank and do everything you possibly could to make sure that you were the owner of the house and the recipient of the hidden treasure? Wouldn’t you give up every other possession that you already owned in order to buy that house?
Jesus says that the Kingdom of Heaven is like the hidden treasure---its worth is invaluable, but it will cost you everything that you have. The question is, “Are you willing to pay the price?”
This may seem like a silly question. I mean, who doesn’t want to be free from the things that are holding them in spiritual, emotional, and mental bondage?
Who wants to be held captive to sin?
Who doesn’t want to be delivered and experience the abundant life that Jesus promises? It’s as silly as asking the question, “Who wouldn’t buy the house with 1 billion dollars hidden inside?” That’s ridiculous!
However, what’s more ridiculous is how many Christians go through their entire life never experiencing freedom, not because they don’t see the value in it, but because they aren’t willing to pay the price to be free. They would love to own the house with a billion dollars inside, but they don’t want to sell their mortgaged $100,000 dollar home to buy it. They spend their entire life playing the victim, wishing they were free, but the only thing that is actually keeping them from being free is their own choice to stay enslaved.
The truth is that the men who signed the Declaration of Independence didn’t have to sign that document. The American colonies didn’t have to go to war. They could have met in Philadelphia and decided that becoming a free, independent nation wasn’t worth the fight. It wasn’t worth the cost in lives, property, fortunes, and reputations.
They could have looked at the obstacles and said, “It’s just too hard and there’s no guarantee we’ll even win the war.” They could have walked away and decided to remain a British colony, living like British slaves.
After all, that would have been a much easier road. There would have been no risks, no responsibility for establishing a new nation. Each man would have continued living his life comfortably and normally. It would have been safer for them and much safer for their families. No one would have marched off to war. No one would have died. No property would be damaged or lost. No fortunes ruined. This was a viable option.
Thankfully, it was an option they rejected. Instead, they chose to take the harder route and risk everything for freedom. They pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor---everything they had to get what they needed more than anything else---freedom.
Today, many women are standing at the same crossroads in their lives. For too many years, you’ve been held captive by addictions, emotional pain, memories, abuse, sins, bad behaviors, and heartaches. These things are ruling your life, making you their slave. Deep inside you want to be free. For you, being free from these things would be like inheriting 1 billion dollars. It would change every part of your life.
You daydream about freedom.
You pray for freedom.
You beg God to give you a normal life free from the bondage you live in everyday. You’re sick and tired of being a slave to the things that hold you captive. The question is, “Are you ready to declare war and do whatever is necessary to be free?”
It’s time to make a decision and lay it all on the line. It’s time to ask, “Am I willing to pay the price to gain my freedom?”
This is where the rubber meets the road.
This is what separates the wimps from the warriors; the victims from the victorious. Will you do whatever it takes to be free?
Unfortunately, this is the point in the conversation where many Christians walk away defeated. They’re all excited while we’re talking about wanting to be free. They’ll tell anyone the story of how of difficult it is to be in bondage. However, as soon as someone points them in the direction of freedom, they decide that freedom isn’t worth the price. That’s when they start saying things like,
“I know it isn’t right that I do these things, but I’m just not ready to give it up.”
“Counseling may work for you, but I don’t think it will work for me.”
“I realize there are generational iniquities at work in my life, but a spiritual deliverance session just isn’t my cup of tea.”
“I know the man I’m dating isn’t a Christian and this relationship isn’t healthy, but I don’t want to be alone.”
These are the words of someone who doesn’t really want to be free. They may not like the circumstances that their choices are creating, but they don’t crave freedom enough to make new choices that could end their bondage.
I am very sad to say that until these people change their minds and decide, “I am going to do WHATEVER it takes to gain my freedom, no matter how much time, effort, money, or sacrifice it takes”, they will always be in bondage. Freedom isn’t free, it isn’t even cheap. Every freedom comes with a price. Until they are willing to pay the price, they will never be free.
The good news is that this does not have to be your story. You can choose, right now, today, to make a different choice. You can follow in the footsteps of those who have said, “I will pay whatever cost is necessary to gain my spiritual, emotional, and mental freedom. I’m tired of living like a slave to these things that are holding me captive. I want the abundant life that Jesus has promised me, and today, I’m declaring my Spiritual Independence. I’m declaring war on the things that are holding me captive and I’m going to passionately pursue my spiritual freedom whatever the cost!”
If this is the cry of your heart, this July could be the greatest Independence Day you’ve ever had! You can start a whole new life!
I’m not saying that it’s going to be easy. Whatever area you are trying to overcome will put up a fight. You’ll have to be determined to press forward no matter what comes against you, knowing that through the power of Jesus, you can overcome.
To Read More About Gaining Your Spiritual Freedom, start reading Finding Healing.