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Sweet land of liberty


“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)

Freedom — one of the sweetest words in the English language. It brings a lift to our spirits when we hear it.

July 4, 1776 is the date we celebrate, in America, when we were liberated from British rule. This day set our country on the course of a brighter future. Her history had not yet been written. Much had already happened to bring about the birth of a nation. The nation had a lot of growing up to do as well.

“My Country ‘Tis of Thee” is a patriotic song many of us have heard. Have you ever read or sang the fourth verse? “Our fathers’ God to Thee, Author of liberty, To Thee we sing. Long may our land be bright, With freedom’s holy light, Protect us by Thy might, Great God our King.”

The author of this great American hymn is Samuel Francis Smith, an early 19th century seminary student in Andover, Massachusetts. He knew, like we need to be reminded, that God is the author of all true freedom.

Sitting in our basement, I looked up and saw a vole (a meadow mouse) trying to climb out of the window well. Apparently it had either fallen in or dug its way in and could not get out. I watched it struggle time and time again as it scurried up the screen that did not extend to the top — only to slide back down.

After a while, I felt compassion for it and placed a larger, extra screen we had down into the window well so it could climb out. It sniffed around the screen but never would actually climb up it. Freedom was right in front of this little creature but it would not take that necessary step.

We can be like that little vole. Spiritual freedom is right in front of us and, deep inside, we long for it but we are not willing to take the step. It may be because we believe we know what is best and not God. It may be because we are enjoying lesser things and do not realize the great benefits of spiritual freedom. It may be because we simply do not know how. Find a Bible and open it to John 3:16 and read how Jesus submitted himself to death so that you and I could be free.

If each one of us would choose daily to walk in the truth (Jesus said, “I am the truth” in John 14:6) then we may, indeed, fulfill the words of this hymn: “…may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light.”

By the way, that little vole found his way out. Let’s find our way to freedom’s author, Jesus Christ!

William “Carey” Northington

William “Carey” Northington leads One Master Ministries, a ministry to help people be faithful to God, especially through faithful financial decision-making. You can contact him at www.onemaster.org.