For brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love to serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Galatians 5 13-14, KJV
This freedom which God has given to us is also known as free will. Along with free will comes the ability to make our very own decisions, and accept the consequences of those decisions. Along with freedom, comes responsibility. As George Bernard Shaw said, “Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it”.
As parents, it is our responsibility to help mold our children’s characters so that as they get older and make their own decisions, they will understand the gravity of making the right decision, and the consequences each decision has. Not only do they need to be taught how to weigh the pros and cons of each decision, but also how each decision will affect their relationship with others and with God. The guiding principles of each decision we make are found within the Ten Commandments, and one of them was mentioned in the verse from Galatians above. Does this decision I am making serve one another and the Lord, or does it hurt others and the Lord? Some people argue that following the Ten Commandments actually inhibits our freedom of choice, but in actuality, it enhances this freedom because it eliminates all of the wrong kinds of choices we can make, thereby allowing us the freedom to choose wisely and without fear of sinning or hurting others. Brigham Young was once quoted as saying, “True independence and freedom can only exist in doing what is right”.
As Christians, we are called to use our freedom wisely. In Galatians, we are asked to use it not to choose sin, but to choose the righteous path of love. Freedom in Christ is the freedom to love.
I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free. Psalm 118:5 (NIV)
This Fourth of July, we are reminded that our nation was founded by a group of Christians who were seeking to form a nation based on a foundation of religious freedom. Patrick Henry said, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ! For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here”.
It serves us well, then, to remember all of those who sacrificed for our freedom – those who followed Christ’s example by giving their lives so that we could be free. It’s important to keep all of these men and women in prayer, and to live each day with their sacrifice as our guiding principle to not take our freedom for granted. To do any less than that would cheapen their sacrifice, and would dishonor their memory, and would make Christ’s and their sacrifice less meaningful.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV)
©2008, Valerie Wolff