This past week Americans celebrated Independence Day. Time spent with close ones grilling, hanging out, watching fireworks, etc. This year there seemed to be an importance on the word "freedom". Not to dive into political stuff, but this seems to be the reason most people are emphasizing their (insert your reason for freedom).
Either way, we want to talk about a different approach to the word "freedom". Yes, our American independence does allow us to speak and act freely, but it comes with some stipulations. And it neither promises or guarantees us anything.
The "freedom" we want to approach is the freedom that Jesus died on the cross for.
This freedom frees us
from the bondage of this world and gives us the right to a relationship with God (our creator). This "freedom" does come with guarantees and does promise us certain things.
But wait! There is a catch!
Are you willing to be a human sacrifice and die to yourself in order to glorify and further His kingdom?
Let us take a look at Colossians 2:6-15 ESV
Alive In Christ
6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits[a] of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Paul is challenging the Church of his time to be Alive In Christ and not to conform to the rules and regulations set forth by man (Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV). He then goes on in Colossians chapter 3 to describe what a Godly life looks like.
So, back to our approach to "freedom". Are we following the "freedom" set forth by man or are we following the freedom set forth by Christ?
No matter the location, governing body, or rules and regulations that determine our freedom, or lack thereof in some countries, our freedom in Him transcends all. Let us not find our way of living in this world but in the one that created all that we have. Let us be free in Him. Let us glorify Him. Let us further His kingdom and share His good news - the news that frees us from this way of life and into a life lived for Him!
But wait one second. Our freedom in God does not allow us to be disrespectful to those that do not submit to the same authority as we do. Let's take a look at a passage from Thriving In Babylon by Larry Osborne on the topic of Respect:
"The fact is, if we're unwilling to treat godless leaders with respect, we'll have no chance of influencing their decision and actions. No one listens to people who look down on them with contempt or disdain. When we know that others don't like or respect us, we shut them out, become defensive, or go on the attack. Which is precisely how our culture has responded to Christians at large."
While the freedom of God transcends all we have to remember to carry ourselves with biblical humility and respect.
1 Peter 2:13-17 ESV
Submission to Authority
13 Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
More on this next week in our Diving Deeper section next Thursday.
Until then. Live for His glory... Succeed for His kingdom!