Happy 26 to all Liberians, wherever you may be- at home and in the diaspora. Freedom (political freedom, freedom from slavery, freedom from oppression, freedom from sin, etc.) is a very expensive commodity. Someone has to pay for it. Our forefathers fought to give us freedom. Now it is our time to sustain this freedom. Let me suggest two ways we can work out our freedom.
First, there is a political freedom that we must safeguard. July 26, will make Liberia (one of the oldest republics in Africa) 175 years old. The country was set free from colonialism, slavery and tribal conflicts by the settlers who came and the indigenous whom they met here. They all played their roles and gave us what we know today as Liberia. Though there have been challenges over the years since independence (the underdevelopment, the civil war, corruption in government and other places, the Ebola epidemic, and the Covid pandemic), we must be grateful and thankful to God that we have a country called Liberia. We, especially Liberian Christians and this present generation, have a duty to the nation. According to St. Paul (Romans 13), Christians have a duty to make a difference and be law abiding citizens, and help to promote peace and unity. Whichever political sphere you many find yourself, Liberia is our ONE and ONLY BIG POLITICAL PARTY, and we must work to protect it.
Second, there is a spiritual freedom that we must work out (Gal. 5:1-23). The book of Galatians was written by Paul to refute the allegations that he was teaching that people who are saved needed to be circumcised. He says no, it is the opposite. When you are saved, you are no longer yoked unto the laws. There were hundreds of Jewish laws (not the Ten Commandments) that the Jews were required to obey to show that they were religious. Paul said when you are saved by faith you are not under the law but under grace. In other words, you obey God not a set of manmade rules. He points out three things we must do.
A. We must let the Past Go (What kept us in bondage).
‘Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Gal.5:1-13). Paul assures the Galatians that they had been called unto liberty; that the gospel had made them free. But Paul was quick to point out that since they were now free from the laws that had them in spiritual bondage, it does not mean that they were now free to engage in reckless living. But rather it was designed that they should serve one another; and not fall into the indulgence of raging passions, producing strife and mutual hatred. In the same way, Liberians must learn to forgive those who hurt them and let the past go.
B. We should replace Hatred with LOVE (13-15).
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another” (Gal. 5:13-15). Working out our spiritual freedom means that as Liberian believers, we need to love one another. We cannot hate and devour one another and expect the country to move forward. We cannot fight and back bite each other and expect the country to develop. It is love that builds and hatred breaks down. The 14 years civil war should teach us lessons that when you hate your brother so much to take up guns to kill him, you are not only killing him, but his family (children and wife) and Liberia. Their children will live with the ugly memory and hold it against you (especially for those who cannot learn to forgive).
C. We should Walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-23).
1. Walking in the Spirit means we should renounce the deed of the flesh
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (19-21). These works of the flesh have a way to hurt not just the individual but the nation as whole and keep it from progressing.
2. Walking in Spirit meanswe should allow the Spirit to Renew His Fruits in us (22-23).
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (the willingness to forgive and be tolerant), gentleness, (kindness) goodness, faith, Meekness (humbleness), temperance (soberness, self-restraints), against such there is no law” (22-23). Sure, love, peace and forgiveness will build a vibrant nation. But we have to obey the Holy Spirit to produce theses fruits in us.
As we celebrate this year’s July 26, let all Liberians be politically mature as we prepare for the 2023 general elections. We should also be spiritually conscious of our duty to let the past go, love one another, and renounce the things that will retard the progress of nation building.
Written by Rev. Dr. G. Larque Vaye
Calvary Baptist Church