America. . . .What is America? These days, I don’t believe many of us know anymore. We used to call ourselves the land of the free and the home of the brave. But are we brave? Are we free? Really think about that, especially now. Ponder those two little words: brave and free. Now look around you. Voices are censored. People are bullied into silence. History’s heroes are stripped of their honor. The churches are forced into absence, and those who are purely focused on nurturing homes and families had left the door to power wide open for abusers who care nothing for it. That’s the America we have now. One group tends to quake and weep in a corner. The other glorifies government control, looting, and burning. Is that what a free and brave people were meant to be?
Ladies and gentlemen, what is it to be brave and free? Many believe bravery is the willingness to fight back, and freedom is to do as you please. We were told a place with people like that would be perfect paradise. That it’s the kind of country we should hope to achieve - the apex of dreams. Well then, I ask you this. Do you like it now? Because sadly, my dear readers, that dream has indeed manifested before our very eyes. It’s precisely the kind of bravery and freedom we’ve bought. People ‘bravely’ and ‘freely’ attack their neighbors; evade justice with loopholes; and skew truth into lies. Morals are treated as nothing more than a human invention used to restrict and oppress ‘marginalized’ groups. Let every man here ‘bravely’ and ‘freely’ do what is right in his own eyes is the mantra. ‘You do you’. My readers, that’s the free and the brave that we’ve either become or allowed others to be, but it’s certainly not the kind of country our heroes died for.
What led poor refugees to abandon their whole world to settle untamed wilderness? What made thirteen colonies challenge a world power? What was so important for brother to slaughter brother on the Gettysburg field? Or how does one willfully march across the globe to save millions of strangers from tyranny with nary a ‘thanks’? Those people didn’t wake up one day and ‘felt’ like doing it. They didn’t climb those mountains ‘cause they were there’ nor did so at no risk to themselves. Most lost something be it their homes, limbs, loved ones, or lives. You see, my friends, freedom costs something and often at a steep price. So what kind of freedom did our ancestors consider worth paying for? Were they so enticed by loose living they risked being hanged? Or did they desire ‘their say’ so badly that they laid down comforts of home for calloused battlegrounds? I don’t think so, at least not for many of them. There had to be so much more to it than that to spurn such drastic actions. The way they saw it, all men were meant for far greater purposes than just to live for themselves. They knew this, and it prompted them to risk it all because they recognized a Biblical God who had planted it there.
The Biblical God called every man fearfully and wonderfully made yet were trapped by their cycle of wickedness. Thus, He paid the price for our freedom from sin with the blood of His perfect Son, Jesus, so that all might choose to know Him and enjoy His rich mercies both in this life and eternity. The greatest names of our history like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and so on believed this to be so and knew the Bible called every man to glorify His Creator through his life. Men were meant for freedom - but not freedom for self. It’s freedom from wickedness. It’s the freedom to live responsibly and to make right choices before his Maker. No king, ruler, or institution should deprive others from that life nor demean them into being cattle. Thus, to our great heroes, if man was so precious to God that He’d sacrifice His Son to free them from sin, then they counted their homes, their dignity, and their lives worth sacrificing to free men from each other’s tyranny.
So pilgrims didn’t survive deadly winters just to make their own rules. Thirteen colonies didn’t call out Britain simply to escape their unlawful abuse of power. To some Union soldiers it wasn’t just about freeing slaves, nor to the Confederates was it all about their fears of a federal government grown too empowered. No. All gave some, and some gave all because they believed in a higher Being who determined what is good and who valued mankind. No fallible ruler aught to force nor prevent other men from pursuing Him. Jefferson’s statement of separation of church and state wasn’t about keeping the church from meddling with the government. It was about keeping the government from meddling with the church, yet the day we forgot that and surgically removed God from our patriotism was the day the free and the brave became a dying breed. For bravery is willful sacrifice and freedom is taking personal responsibility. Neither of which is worth squat without the Biblical God who makes brave sacrifice worthwhile and gives responsibility a standard. Anything less, as we have so clearly seen, invites chaos.
So where do we go from here? Is there still a chance for us, the American people, to return to being the free and the brave? Indeed there is, but I’ll warn you. As the very words imply, The Brave and The Free are mighty titles. They are earned, not given. Would you freely assume the full responsibility of instructing your child in the ways of the Lord and in patriotism? Would you bravely sacrifice your own public image to save someone wrongfully accused? Would you, by your own volition, give up time and possessions to help another without being asked or expecting return? Would you have the courage to step up, deny yourself, and endure harrowing hardship to safeguard those same freedoms from potential abusers for the generations to come? That’s what a people worthy of being the free and the brave do. It doesn’t matter how big or small that action is. If you believe in the Lord; believe He created all mankind for His delight; and you choose to selflessly put another’s needs before your own, . . . Then you are free. . . . Then you are brave.
Some may be daunted by such a lofty charge. Many might say they couldn’t possibly do it no matter how much they wanted to. Well, if you’re someone who desires to be the free and the brave but don’t think you have what it takes, come close. Real close. For I have a little secret . . . . You don’t have what it takes. Nobody does. That’s why Jesus came. You see, Jesus knew our hearts were weak. We couldn’t do one genuinely selfless thing on our own if we tried, so He offered us a special gift besides salvation from sin. He offered Himself, His Holy Spirit, to make you strong. If you’ve accepted responsibility for your sin and acknowledge your need for mercy and a changed heart, then guess what? His Holy Spirit already indwells you. You already have access to the relationship that empowered fearful slaves to be brave and free and so much more. And if you don’t yet have His Spirit to transform you, He can be yours, right now, today. All it takes is the asking - from a humble heart, from a genuine place.
America, my earthly home, I love you so very much. Yes, your history is riddled with costly mistakes, and not every American was so noble or God-fearing. Yet you’re rich with such a godly heritage of Christian heroes who did the hard things. It’s by your Biblical founding and God’s blessing that you became the richest, most prosperous, and influential nation in the world. It’s only because another kingdom, God’s kingdom, resided in your so prominently through us, His redeemed. For the brave and the free is what He’s made every Christian to be. America, we are the brave. We are the free through whom God had made and kept you. And after you do pass away, America, your spirit will live on in us - God’s people - forever. For His Spirit birthed your spirit, and it can never ever be taken away.
Thanks for reading. God bless you, and God bless America.