The tragic deaths of 18 firefighters of the Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots Crew, and at least one other person, is a heart wrenching example of the sacrifice many make for their neighbor. Although I cannot speak to the faith of these brave men or pretend to know what motivated them to sign-up for such dangerous and difficult work, their sacrifice embodies the best use of freedom.
Freedom to vote, worship, work, go to school and pretty much live how I want so long as I don’t infringe on someone else’s rights has been granted us by our nation. Since the signing of the Declaration of Independence, millions have used their freedom to preserve our freedom. Had these brave men and women not used their freedom to serve, we would not enjoy the freedom we now have.
Just yesterday, I taught on the text, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1, ESV) Our founding fathers acknowledged that God made all people equal when they signed the Declaration of Independence. They fought to secure political freedom for us. Since then, millions of Americans have used their freedom to preserve freedom.
The same God who has given us political freedom in our country has also given Christians true spiritual freedom through the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ. In Christ, our past mistakes are forgotten. Punishment from previous missteps is erased. No longer do we have to live our lives a certain way to please God. Rather, we get to live our lives freely because in Christ we already please Him.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are certainly things that don’t please God. Some Christians are guilty of abusing the forgiveness of sins by wasting God’s grace on sinful, selfish pleasures (see the rest of Galatians 5). These Christians are spiritually worse-off than unbelievers because they know what’s good and choose to do bad, while often encouraging others to do the same.
But Christians who live in the light of Christ’s love follow Jesus’ example of selfless sacrifice. God has given us His Son and His Spirit so that we can look forward to everyday as a brand new opportunity to freely serve God by serving our neighbor. This is most pleasing in God’s sight—Christians doing good because they want to, not because they have to.
None of us would enjoy freedom had others before us not chosen to use their freedom to preserve ours. These firefighters are a most recent and noble example of heroic service. They are reminder to all of us that our freedom is best employed when we serve others instead of serving ourselves. We do well to lift them, their friends and families up in prayer and follow their example by using our Christian freedom to serve.
Please use the comment box below to inspire others to serve by telling us how you use your Christian freedom in service to others.