Freedom never comes through disobedience. – Beth Moore, “Psalms of Ascent” study
In a few weeks, America is going to have a party. Independence Day, the Fourth of July, will be filled with fireworks, people getting a day off of work, and red, white, and blue decorations. We’ll have barbecues, ice cream, and a hole in our pockets where our money used to be.
We’ll celebrate our freedom, remember our soldiers, and maybe even take a swim in the lake.
But what would Independence Day look like without rules, without consequence? What if everyone stole the fireworks instead of paid for them? What if driving while intoxicated was legal? What if our FDA regulations were not in place regarding the food in our grocery stores?
We have freedom, right? But we have to follow the rules. We have freedom, but there are consequences for breaking the law. These laws were put into place to keep us safe, to keep us from harm. But we are free.
Then why is it so different when we look at God’s rules? We have freedom in following God’s laws – do not commit adultery, do not steal, honor your parents, love your neighbor. His laws are in place, but we often seem to think that God’s laws, which were put into place to give us freedom, actually hinder our freedom.
If we live in a country where we celebrate our freedom that is based on rules and laws, why would we believe different about our Father’s rules? Man is imperfect; God is not.
I know several agnostics, atheists, and people who generally believe that the Easter-Christmas church visits will somehow get them into heaven. I know people who go to church on Sunday but forget the sermon before they’re out of the parking lot or choose to ignore it because it doesn’t fit in with their lifestyle. I know this because I’ve been that person more than I care to admit.
We can’t pick and choose what we want to believe in, if we choose to believe in the Bible. Our pastor made a fantastic point in church this Sunday when he started his sermon series on Jonah – “When I taught seminary, as I got to the book of Jonah, a lot of students had read scholars who have said that Jonah should not be taken literally. It should be read as a cautionary tale. They don’t believe that there was a prophet named Jonah who was swallowed by a whale and then tossed back up. I, then, would ask them, ‘Do you believe that Jesus died on a cross and rose from the dead three days later? Then why is the story of Jonah so fantastic and unbelievable?’”
We can’t decide that one of God’s laws in the New Covenant (Hebrews 12:24) applies to us and then the other doesn’t. In our country, we can’t decide that stealing is okay but speeding is not.
We have freedom in our country, and we have freedom in God. The rules are in place for our protection and safety. Why is that so difficult to believe?