Posts Tagged ‘freedom’

Because the heart is deceitful above all things (Jer.17:9), we need to be on guard,

Lest we confuse:

The incessant need to be right with a love of righteous

Religious complacency with standing in faith

The right to choose with genuine freedom

Craving relaxation with finding rest

Vain imaginings with visions from God

Loving what someone brings to our life with loving them

Receiving God’s grace with using it as license to go our own way

Or mistake:

An insatiable desire to win with living the victorious life

A calling from God with what we want to be called

The ministry of the Comforter with being comfortable

A sense that life is unfair with a commitment to justice

Being prosperous with being a witness for Christ

Having a good heart with having God’s heart

Knowing about Jesus with knowing Jesus

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When we speak of freedom we are most often referring to the exercise of our free will.  Essentially, it is the ability to make our own choices, to speak our mind, and to act in whatever way seems right to us.  In American culture it is a term synonymous with independence, self-sufficiency and self-rule.  But these attributes do not describe the freedom that Christ died to give us (Gal. 5:1).  Instead, He offers a love that never fails, a joy that can be our strength, a peace that surpasses understanding, and a hope that cannot be shaken.  One is largely rooted in our external condition, while the other is established in our internal state of being.  And while we can rightfully boast of living in a nation that affords us a high level of personal autonomy, we are a people plagued by hurt, fear, offense, anxiety, and addiction.  Indeed, “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them” (2Pet. 2:19) and in this regard, we have largely been taken captive through hollow and deceptive philosophies, which depend on human tradition, and the elemental spiritual forces of this world, rather than on Christ (Col. 2:8)..  Sadly, it is our passion for the former that often keeps us from partaking of the latter.

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Consequence is the price we pay for the freedom to choose. 

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Many parents teach their children that, “fighting never solves anything”; but that always seemed a bit narrow to me.  A child could easily, and understandably interpret that to mean that there was never a time to fight, and from my perspective, that is not true.  Though I’ve taught my kids that fighting is almost never the answer, I’ve balanced that with the understanding that there are times when it is absolutely necessary to take a stand.  As my son now stands at the threshold of military service, I offer this context for the battle that lies ahead.


Our battle is not with flesh and blood

But with the spiritual forces of darkness

We do not fight to show ourselves strong

We fight in order to defend the weak

We do not fight to enslave our adversaries

We fight so that all men can be free

We do not fight to obtain what does not belong to us

We fight to preserve our God given rights

We do not fight because we hate our enemies

We fight to protect the one’s we love

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Last Sunday (i.e. July 4th), as I prayed for this country (i.e. the USA), I began to see the undeniable bond between freedom and sacrifice.  I thought of our forefathers, most of whom sacrificed their fortunes, reputations and comfort to forge a new republic.  I thought of those who sacrificed their lives in the revolutionary war, in the hope that their brethren could attain some new level of freedom.  I thought of how democracy hinges on a people’s willingness to sacrifice a certain amount of their personal autonomy for the greater good of the group.  And I thought of all those who’ve sacrificed their lives in order to preserve this wonderful freedom that we’ve inherited.

But as I pondered this connection between freedom and sacrifice, in light of where our society is today, I had to wonder what will be left of it for our children.  We seem to live in a time when people are increasingly unwilling to sacrifice anything.  The collective cultural psyche seems to be that we can somehow “have it all”, which is essentially the anti-thesis of sacrifice.  When we reach the place that we are unwilling to yield our personal position for the greater good of the whole, we create a situation where it’s every man for himself and ultimately, survival of the fittest.  One of the great dangers in becoming the most powerful nation in the world is that it can cause a people to believe that the days of sacrifice have ended; but without sacrifice, the freedom will not stand.

For those of us who count ourselves as Christians, this connection between freedom and sacrifice ought to be abundantly clear; as it was Jesus’ sacrifice that attained eternal freedom for us.  But despite the perfection of His sacrifice, we too must be willing to partake of the crucifixion of our flesh in order to walk in the genuine freedom He attained for us.  Unfortunately, just as in the culture, the American version of Christianity seems to be increasingly predicated on the idea that we can (and even should) “have it all”.  But as the concept of sacrifice diminishes in our churches, it is hard to deny that it seems to be taking the freedom with it.

If Jesus (i.e. the Son of God, a man of perfect faith) learned obedience from the things He suffered, how can we expect any less?

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