This week we celebrate the birth of our grand nation and the freedom we enjoy because of the many men and women who fought and sacrificed to win that freedom for us. May we never forget the fact that their sacrifices paid for many of the freedoms we enjoy (and often take for granted) today. But for some, the definition of “freedom” has evolved since the early days of this country. And a distorted view of freedom will shape the way you see yourself, the way you live your life, and the way you treat others. It can also distort the way you view your freedom in Christ…
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Freedom is NOT a license to do whatever you want. We enjoy many freedoms in this country. But that doesn’t mean we have no laws to abide by. Our freedom is to be used responsibly and for good purpose. For example, we may have “free speech,” but that doesn’t mean we get to use it to slander or threaten others. The same is true in our Christian walk. We have been set free from the Law that brought death and gave sin its power, but that doesn’t mean we get to walk around sinning. Just like this great land we live in, our freedom from sin was paid for with blood and it isn’t a freedom we should ever take for granted or misuse.
Freedom is NOT about entitlement or happiness. In America, we are given the freedom to pursue happiness. But that doesn’t mean happiness comes automatically, and it certainly doesn’t mean that we are entitled to it. Unfortunately, there are many who allow their feelings of entitlement to dictate how they live and treat others. The word “entitled” is indeed an interesting word. It simply means that we’ve been given the right to something or that we have been given a title that grants us a specific privilege. For example, as an American adult, I have been entitled to the right to vote.
The real problem with entitlement, however, is when we feel entitled to something that we actually aren’t entitled to. Spiritually speaking, we do this all the time. God never promised us an easy life or one that was filled with nothing but happiness and rainbows. (Although, He did promise us His peace and joy through difficult circumstances.) Being entitled can be a good thing when you know what your rights truly are and you use them properly. But “feeling” entitled to something you aren’t really entitled to will only lead to disappointment and could potentially lead others to feel the same.
Freedom is NOT dependant upon your physical or outward circumstances. Many great men and women have fought for our freedoms in this country, and for that, I am truly grateful and blessed. I am honored to live in such an amazing country where freedom reigns. But the truth is that it is entirely possible to be physically free from something, and yet still be bound spiritually and emotionally.
Take a look, for example, at the life of Paul in the New Testament. He was a free man indeed, but much of his ministry was actually spent behind bars. Physically, he was in prison. But he was more free than the people who put him there. The truth is that freedom is experienced in Christ alone. He set us from slavery to sin and death, and He set us free from fear. Nothing on earth can take away that freedom.
Freedom is NOT a right, but a privilege.
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. – Galatians 5:13
With freedom, we are given a responsibility to love. Paul reminded the early church to not use their newfound freedom to sin, but to love others in their freedom. We must never forget that our freedoms were purchased by the blood of the Lamb.
At the same time, we need to enjoy our freedom and use it the way God intended. It is entirely possible to be free and not live as though we are free.
Freedom is not a license to do whatever you want. True freedom comes with the responsibility to choose wisely whom or what we will serve.
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.