Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Live as Free People

{1 Peter 2:13-17; ESV}
Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Consider the following quote attributed to Samuel Adams:
He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man...The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy this gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people

One of my fundamental beliefs is the belief that liberty, individual freedom, is a gift from almighty God and not a privilege extended to us by the government. That means real freedom is found in the choices that we make, and not in the type of government which governs the country. Make no mistake about it: there are people in this country who are slaves because of the choices that they have made. Freedom is a gift from God, and the purpose of the Constitution of the United States is to ensure that we have the best opportunity to enjoy that freedom. While that is true, ultimately we find or lose our freedom based on the choices we make.

What does a free life look like? According to Samuel Adams the person who enjoys freedom is the person who lives a virtuous life. That is an interesting thought. In other words it is not the person who simply enjoys the benefits of freedom, doing whatever he/she pleases, but the person who lives according to a code of conduct, who gets the most out of freedom. The person who is honest, loving, disciplined, hard-working, and compassionate (to name a few positive virtues) is the person who will best enjoy his/her freedom.

This reminds me of what the apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter. In 1 Peter 2:16 we read; Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God (ESV). Peter tells us that we are to live as free people, and the best way to do that is to live as servants of God. Ultimately freedom is found by living out God’s design for our lives. The way we enjoy freedom is to be disciplined in how we live.

Please understand this: no one can rob us of our freedom. Even if someone takes over and destroys the Constitution, along with the Bill of Rights, we are still able to live free lives. The reason for this is because it is not the government that makes us free. Freedom is a gift from God. The choices we make, even under an oppressive government, are what enable us to enjoy God’s gift of freedom.

Have hope! God, in His great wisdom and mercy, has placed control of our lives in our hands. The choices that we make are what determine what our lives will be like. God has left it up to us to decide whether or not we will live with freedom. This freedom is not about doing whatever we would like to do, but it is about choosing to live the life God planned for us to live (see Ephesians 2:10).

The ability to be free is discovered in the choices we make. Choose to follow Jesus and enjoy real freedom.

  • Point to Ponder: Ultimately we find or lose our freedom based on the choices we make.
  • Passage to Remember: 1 Peter 2:16
  • Pray to Pray: Thank You Father for the gift of the freedom. I ask for the guidance and wisdom I need to make the most of this wonderful gift.

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