We are blessed. We live in a country where freedom of speech and assembly are a given – a country where we can choose who to worship and how we accomplish that worship. We live in a country where we can apply ourselves, work hard and attain levels of success that are not only rare, they are unheard of in many other places. We live in America and we have the freedoms we currently enjoy because of the wisdom and sacrifice of the countless patriots who founded our country long ago. As we pause over the 4th of July weekend to celebrate their efforts and succes, we also want to pause to look long and hard at our present interpretation of freedom. Have we lost our way when it comes to the privilege of living in freedom and assuming the necessary responsibilities that are inherent to it? Is our freedom here in America on borrowed time?
Understanding freedom is a tricky thing. If you asked the average person you see everyday what freedom is, we all know that you would get a variety of answers. If you tracked the answers by age brackets, I think you would find (my opinion here) that our youngest adults – those in their 20’s and early 30’s would lean towards answering the question with a "freedom means being able to do what you want" kind of a statement. They are essentially saying that freedom is self-directed. But is it?
To truly understand the way freedom works best and produces its maximum results, we need to go back to the time when, well, when freedom was best. That time was way back when Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden and God dealt with them directly. He blessed them with their environment and gave them dominion. These gifts were the basis of how mankind’s free world was supposed to look. It was a clean and fresh world in which they were given the authority to guide the growth of their pristine environment as they tended and nurtured it. Adam and Eve truly were free!
Along with the breathtaking benefits God had given them, He also gave them guidelines. These guidelines provided necessary boundaries for mankind’s freedom and dominion to operate within and they were simply and powerfully stated: This garden is all yours, but do not eat of a specific tree, or else you will suffer serious consequences. These boundaries rounded out the defining qualities of freedom.
Mankind’s original freedom had immense benefits, built upon the unequivocal foundation of clearly stated responsibilities - take care of what you are given and respect the boundaries your Creator has set. So, freedom as it was originally given was not simply “freedom with responsibility” it was actually “freedom because of responsibility.” Now that is a major difference!
What are the implications of “freedom because of responsibility”? Is our interpretation of freedom today on the same page, or do we not even know that that page exists? Check out our July 3rd, 2016 broadcast, “Freedom and responsibility – Still Important?” and see not only where all of this leads us, but also see how to step up to freedom because you are responsible!
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