Tough Questions and Bible Answers: Freedom

Tough Questions and Bible Answers:  Freedom

As Americans, we love the words “Liberty” and “Freedom.” We embrace the concept of self-determination. We fondly describe our country as “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.” Our country’s Founding Fathers said (in our Declaration of Independence) that all men were endowed by their Creator with certain rights. Among these rights were life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The question at hand is this: Were our Founding Fathers correct in this assertion? Does God give us the privilege of choosing our own destiny?

The answer is yes. God has given people the ability and opportunity to choose how they

will live life. The Bible says that God made mankind in his image. Being made in God’s image is a reference to man’s ability to choose and create. The earliest reference to freedom and choice go back to the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were provided with a paradise to live in. In this oasis of perfection God gave this first family jobs to do and stipulations for living. While they had free will, they were not at liberty to act in any way they desired. This idea of freedom and obligation is where difficulties arise.

While we have the ability to choose many ways to live our lives, not all choices are good

ones. Today’s culture might be characterized by the word—“Whatever”. People often think that they are free to do “whatever” they desire. We all know that such thoughts are not realistic or healthy. What if I see a mother bear leading a pack of bear cubs through the woods. What if I’m overwhelmed with cuddly feelings and rush to pick up a cute bear cub? We all know I’d be in grave danger. It is obvious that while I’m free to do many things, not everything will be good for me or those around me. As a matter of fact, God has interjected his wisdom and instructions into our world. God has given mankind the ability to choose and He has defined what good choices are. God has warned mankind that bad choices have consequences.

Let me introduce a thought that might seem paradoxical at first glance. All people are

free to become obligated. In order to illustrate this concept, I’ll point to children. How often have we heard a child say: “I can’t wait until I grow up, then I can do whatever I want to do.” “I’ll be the boss and no one will tell me what to do!” We’ve all heard these cries for freedom. We’ve all chuckled at the naivety of the thought. There is never a time where we do not have to answer to someone or something. We live in a world of constraints. Whether it is the law of gravity or the law of government, I’m not at liberty to do everything that might come to mind.

I’ll close with an idea that we will start this week and finish next week. Jesus repeatedly

taught that happiness, peace and joy did not arise from having our own way. Absolute freedom does not lead to lasting fulfillment or genuine peace. A lifestyle that seeks to abandon rules and guidelines always leads to destruction. Those who are committed to a “whatever” lifestyle are deeply bothered by the words of Jesus in Matthew 10:38-39. “Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (NIV) Some consider it a contradiction in terms when we say that God has given us freedom to choose and then He tells how we should use that freedom. A word that helps us to find balance and clarity in this issue is: “Mission”. Let me close by asking: “What is your Mission in life?” Join me next week as we discuss how using your freedom and choosing a life mission has huge ramifications. Keep looking up! (That’s a choice too)