Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Freedom -- A Gift and A Responsibility
Today’s Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 25-27; Galatians 5
SCRIPTURE: Galatians 5:1, 13-16
1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free…
13 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. 14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 15 If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. 16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Gal 5:13-16 NIV)
Real freedom is defined by the ability to choose for oneself how to behave and what course one’s life will pursue. Living in a nation that establishes laws to assure individual liberties is a blessing, but laws by a collective society, necessarily dictate what is considered good behavior and bad behavior. In Christ, however, we are given freedom unrestricted by law with the exhortation to, "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Our American society today is becoming one of increased bullying, it seems. By whatever divisions we have constructed within our society, coercion to force our freedoms on others is the order of the day. Whether it is Democrats versus Republicans, progressives versus conservatives, pro-life versus abortion rights, labor versus management, gay rights, women’s rights, environmentalists, religious freedom, animal rights, evolutionists, global warming, gun control…; society has divided itself into almost innumerable camps demanding that their freedom choices be favored over and above anyone else’s freedom choices.
In a free society differing opinions is to be expected and is actually healthy toward positive progress, but the attitude of presumption that has permeated today’s society has become one of, “biting and devouring each other.” “You will agree with me or I will destroy you!” Such attitudes, we are told, are to indulge our sinful nature and to place ourselves once again into bondage to that nature. Such bullying behavior serves only to nullify the individual freedom—the real freedom—Christ has offered us.
Lord, thank you for setting me free to be free. While passionately sharing my beliefs, help me to always and only be motivated by love and not by hateful sinful nature. Help my nation strike the proper balance to assure the individual liberties of all without unduly denying the freedom choices of others. May we live in the freedom for which You have set us free. Amen. -AP