This weekend, many Americans will express thanks for their freedom as they celebrate Independence Day. The idea of freedom means different things to different people: freedom from want, freedom from oppression, freedom to succeed, freedom to say and do as we please.
As Christians, we understand freedom in a very exciting way. Ephesians 3:12 says, “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” That means God allows us to come to him directly through prayer—we are free to talk to him, share our lives with him, and worship him with not fear, but joy.
Sadly, many people in our world aren’t free in this sense. About 78 million people don’t have access to the Bible in their native language, and about 1.2 billion people have never heard the gospel. What are we as Christians to do about this? Can we do anything at all?
Here’s a story that can help us take heart: In Malawi, Africa, thousands of children have become orphans in the wake of the AIDS epidemic. Annie Chikhwaza, who runs Kondanani Orphanage there with support from Cross International, discovered a pair of 17-month-old twins in “tragic” condition.
Little Blessings weighed about 8.5 pounds and his twin, Hasting, weighed about 15 pounds. Blessings had large, open wounds on his body and both children looked like skeletons. Neither had hair on their heads nor could sit and stand.
Annie says that in just two weeks, the twins have gained weight and their skin has changed color from pale and gray to chocolate brown. Their hair is growing and it is black instead of orange, a tell-tale sign of malnutrition. Blessings’ wounds are nearly closed up, and Annie says she’s certain they will both make a full recovery.
God calls us to use our freedom to give in his name, to offer of ourselves when no one else will. Thanks to gifts from caring American Christians, children like Blessings and Hasting experience God’s love through us. Galatians 5:13 says, “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” God calls us to use our freedom for good, for serving each other in his name. He reminds us that we can’t understand freedom only in the sense of what we aren’t forced to do; he asks us to think of freedom in terms of what we are at liberty to do for others.
Click here to read about how you can serve others in God’s name through programs supported by Cross International.