Encouragement for Today - July 4, 2005


July 4

Encouragement for Today

(Principle #1)


“The Freedom Cry”

Susanne Scheppmann, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member, Co-editor of Online Devotions


Key Verse:


Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (NIV) 




“But as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”  This famous quotation, written March 23, 1775, by Patrick Henry was the heart-cry of an American patriot.  This month many of us will commemorate the freedoms the United States still provides for our families and ourselves.  We will celebrate with pool parties, fireworks, and barbecues.


When we celebrate our freedom, we recognize that many veterans gave (and are still giving) their lives to enable the freedoms in our lives. Our patriotism rises within in us. We may sing the “Star Spangled Banner” with goose bumps and tear-moistened eyes to acknowledge their sacrifices.


As women of the Christian faith, we acknowledge that Jesus Christ also gave His life, on the Cross, for our freedom.  The Apostle Paul writes in Galatians, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm.”  However, in the Christian walk of faith lies a paradox.  The paradox being we must also die to gain our freedom.  We must die to self.  Again, Paul states in Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”


This paradox of dying to self to gain our own freedom is difficult.  How do we claim our freedom in Christ?   We must examine our lives regularly.  We must ask ourselves, do my actions line up with what the Bible says?  Do negative thoughts, worry, or bad habits keep me from living my life with joy in Jesus?  If the answer is yes, then we must allow the Lord to transform “our thoughts” to “His thoughts.”  Every time we give Him control over any area of our lives, we die to self.


Jesus explained this concept as “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a seed.  But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”  As we die to self, Christ reproduces peaceful thoughts and healthy habits in us.  His sacrifice on Calvary allows us to have freedom, yet we must be willing to die to self to gain the freedom He offers.


Amy Carmichael, a missionary to India, said it like this, “If I refuse to be a corn of wheat that dies (‘is separated from all in which it lived before’) then I know nothing of Calvary love.”


As we celebrate our American freedom, this month, let us have our own patriotic cry of faith.  “But as for me, give me liberty in Christ; let me die to self!”  


My Prayer for Today:


Father, I thank you that I live in a country where democracy and freedom rule.  Help me never to take this privilege for granted.  I praise you that I am free in Christ, also.  Give me the strength that I might die to myself and allow Christ to live in me.


Application Steps: 


Tell someone today about the freedom Jesus Christ offers.


Reflection Points:       


What does freedom in Christ mean to me?


How would I explain it to someone else?


Do I appreciate my freedom?



Power Verses: 


Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (NIV) 


2 Corinthians 2:14, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.” (NIV) 


Isaiah 58:8, “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. (NIV) 



Additional Resources:


Do You Know Him?



Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa TerKeurst



P31 Woman Magazine



Originally published Monday, 04 July 2005.