Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Freedom's Opportunity


You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don't let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love. All the Law has been fulfilled in a single statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.  Galatians 5:13-14 CEB

Americans celebrate the 236th birthday of freedom this day, July 4, 2012. Often we use the word freedom as permission to do whatever we want, whatever might satisfy our own personal desires. While it is true, freedom has wide boundaries, this is not the intention of freedom. In the Epistle of James we read about the "royal law found in Scripture" [James 2:8] which reminds "you do well when you really fulfill the royal law found in Scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself." Christians find true freedom in Christ, our liberty from the captivity of sin. This GRACE is for the asking, no strings attached - but the responsibility of such extravagant freedom transforms our hearts. Our focus can no longer be consumed with selfish motivations. Instead, we are to exercise freedom with love for others - upholding this "royal law". This is freedom's opportunity for all!  

In every way, then, speak and act as people who will be judged by the law of freedom. [James 2:12 CEB]

In 4th grade, we learned all four verses to My Country 'Tis of Thee. I can still see them written on the blackboard with white chalk. As we learned each verse, we would sing it. Of course, things were different then. We also said the Pledge of Allegiance every morning; the American flag hung in every class room. Prayer had not yet been removed from public schools, and it was not a crime for a teacher to speak God's name. That same year, we practiced civil defense drills, too. Anyone remember those? We would get under our school desks for the drill. These were practiced in case America was attacked. I smile at the absurdity of thinking this would have kept any of us safe in an attack. Yet, my heart immediately goes to 9-11 when America was attacked! Getting under the desk did not save anyone. If fact, the only way to save America is for its people to live Christ's law of freedom. Don't miss freedom's opportunity! - dho
Our fathers' God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom's holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.*

* the 4th verse to "My Country 'Tis of Thee