North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose by Matt Dobson

Independence Day Edition

“Live Free or Die” is the official motto of the U.S. State of New Hampshire, adopted by the state in 1945. This is quite an assertive statement in regards to independence. The rights we have as Americans are granted to us by God and preserved by the heroic efforts of our men and women in uniform.

Thousands of people immigrate into the United States each year. They seek a better life in the “Land of the Free” where opportunities are presented and dreams are fulfilled. It’s not that they want to be liberated from their former country; they want the dream and opportunity to live and enjoy life in the United States. Many Americans, including myself, desire positive changes in modern culture. People want to be rescued from the traps of the culture and society. As Christians, we must stand for truth, remove hatred and prejudice from our thoughts and help our fellow-man.

Is there anything greater than living a life of freedom? It’s a wonderful thought to be free. However, it’s important to know—no man or woman in this world gains freedom alone. Phillips Brooks goes as far to say, “There is no such thing as an entirely free man.” What happens to many of us when we are free to live like we want, we often find it hard to temper our likes and we go overboard. We get greedy, trouble happens, we find sin attractive, and we want more. Sin parades around us in charming ways. One’s thoughts determine one’s life, so that even diligent work cannot compensate for failure in the thinking process. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” (Prov. 3:27).

On one occasion, Peter Marshall gave a prayer before the U.S. Senate: “Jesus, you are the way, the truth, and the life; hear us as we pray for the truth that shall make all free. Teach us that liberty is not only to be loved, but also to be lived. Liberty is too precious a thing to be buried in books. It costs too much to be hoarded. Help us see that our liberty is not the right to do as we please, but the opportunity to please to do what is right. AMEN.” This is a prayer for us all; for all times and not just July 4th.

During this week of celebrating freedom and the birth of our great nation, we must acknowledge the spiritual bondage we were born into. That’s right. We are all born with a sin disposition. We all have need to be released and freed from the burden of sin. The great hope is that freedom from sin is available to all. This much needed freedom comes with forgiveness. To forgive, in God’s eyes, is to erase and send our sins away. When we place our trust in Jesus, asking him to forgive us our sins, God is faithful to give us freedom and release from the burden. Sins that stain us and mark us are erased. Psalm 103:11-12 says, “For His loving-kindness for those who fear Him is as great as the heavens are high above the earth. He has taken our sins from us as far as the east is from the west.” Jesus took upon himself the penalty of our sins. “By his wounds are we healed” (Isaiah 53:5). God has set you and me free by forgiving our sin. But we must confess it and seek Him. There must be a willful act on your part to seek this freedom and forgiveness.

There are many Christians who live defeated lives because they are burdened down by guilt and shame over long-forgiven sins. These people are disabled, held back from life, in bondage and don’t have to be. It’s not that they haven’t been set free; it’s that they have never grown to understand what freedom really is.

The following steps explain how to be FREE: 1) F-aith in God (Mark 11:22). Some are in bondage to the love of money. Some are taken in by illicit sex. Others pursue excessive popularity. Faith in God brings freedom from the bondage of sin. Repent, surrender, and believe! Galatians 5:1 says, “Christ made us free. Stay that way. Don’t be chained all over again…”, 2) R-ely on God (Psalm 37:5). Some people are insecure and in constant bondage to material pursuits, their own limited power, and other people. Reliance on God brings freedom from the chains of insecurity. We can trust Him to supply all our needs (Phil. 4:19), 3) E-nlistment for God (Matt. 9:37). We live in busy, hurried times and find ourselves overwhelmed with the seeking of temporal and selfish gains. Every one of us needs to slow down and take time for God. And while we’re not thinking of ourselves, we should help the needy, comfort the downcast, and share Christ with the lost. Doing God’s work brings freedom from self-centeredness, 4) E-ternal life with God (John 14:3). Don’t be afraid and don’t dwell on the gloomy side of life. Think positive! Recognize that God holds the future and joy can be yours. Christians should be free from the fear of the future—old age, death, and the judgment. Fear can defeat you, but faith gives victory. You and I have the promise and assurance of eternal life with God. Let’s begin to enjoy our eternal relationship with God while still on earth.

We have inside of us the immense possibilities of success, happiness, and creativity. Have faith in God, for it’s the difference in preservation and failure. Be thankful for your freedom and the power that is available in the Spirit. And have a selfless concern for others and their rights also. We are citizens of the greatest nation on earth and citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. Happy Birthday America!

  • This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, Univ. of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida and a 1LT Chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserves. Matt can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living. Visit the Living With Purpose website at
Posted by on Jul 1 2012. Filed under Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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