“Freedom Is Not Free” is the memorialized inscription on the Korean Wall in Washington, D.C. Resolve, determination, and endurance are the impetus – intertwined with ongoing sacrifice and hopeful expectation – that eventually results in liberty.
On October 10, 1967 – exactly 5 years to the day that my father received his unofficial orders for assignment in Tehran, Iran – I stood before the Honorable Edward M. Curren, Chief Judge of the United States District Court in Washington, D.C. to become a citizen of this great land. He acknowledged the “sacrifices made by our forefathers who opened up this great land for…[us] to …bear the fruits they intended…far removed from the maddening hates of the Old World…[to be] what America deserves to be, a haven of Godliness, peace, and prosperity.” On this historical date I not only traded my status of “alien” for inalienable rights, but also an old world of tyranny for a new world of democracy. My oath of allegiance required me to “abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince….which I had heretofore been a subject or citizen.”
God’s hand has placed each of us as either “born a citizen” – like Apostle Paul (Acts 22:28) – or a citizen by divine intervention and sovereignty in order that the seed of labor of our forefathers and our families might be harvested in the fruit of our liberty.
As Samuel Adams’ letter to The Boston Gazette on October 5, 1772 states that “religion and public liberty of a people are intimately connected…[with] interests [that] are interwoven [and] cannot subsist separately…”. May we confidently acknowledge that our pasts – whatever that may consist of – cannot subsist separately from our individualistic testimonial faith and personal freedom in Christ.
On this and every day, we must acknowledge that our freedom is not free. Daily relinquishment of self and the “old world” to whom we have all previously been subject are intentional acts of sacrifice that necessitate our preserved liberty in Christ.
As citizens of God’s people and members of His household (Eph. 2:19), we are to minister and encourage the oppressed who are captive not by princes of a foreign land, but to the prince of darkness who steals true liberty. Let us sacrificially plant the seeds of a lasting heritage – to our children and to others – that will reap a harvest for the future.
Freedom is not free, but let us each resolve with determination, endurance, and hopeful expectation to rend the veils that blind our spiritual understanding. For where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (II Corinthians 3:14-17). And we are free indeed.