You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:13
What comes to mind when you think about freedom? The right to choose-free from bondage-carefree living-being your own boss-able to speak your mind-etc. America prides itself on the term based upon the foundation of the country. Many questions come to the surface when we go back 244 years ago.
Was their way of living better than dictatorship? Did they get everything correct when trying to establish a new country? Were they able to agree on everything? Does it really take trial and error to be a wise country? Are we a more united nation today from the struggles we have endured over the years? Do we really understand what the term freedom means? Is our focus on what is right or wrong more than what is wise? Are we better off in 2020 than they were in 1776?
I am not sure I can craft complete answers and thoughts for every question presented above. However, I can attest to freedom out of control. Self-centered rights taken to the extreme with very little grace or mercy extended to others. Retaliation seems to be the theme in exercising the “American Way”. The unity to be “one nation under God” somehow has taken a backseat and replaced with Self-preservation for One and One for Self-preservation. How often do we make our decisions on what is right or wrong personally according to our thinking without any regard to what is wise according to the Lord. (I am so guilty as charged!!!)
As I have been traveling through the book of Proverbs, wisdom and folly are presented verse after verse. Solomon was a leader of many and wanted to acquire the wisdom of the Lord. He carried out James 1:5-7 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord”. Solomon exercised his freedom to seek out what was wise through his fear of the Lord. He had regard for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation yet he even had transfer issues—difficulty living it out in all areas of his life.
Choosing wise freedom under biblical authority is not always easy (or popular for that matter). However, it is essential for us to understand the source of perfect knowledge – “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17). Proverbs 2:6 reminds us that wisdom comes from the mouth of the Lord through knowledge and understanding.
So, when we grasp God’s insight and apply it to our freedom according to His wise counsel, maybe it should also reflect the seven attributes stated in James 3:17. Boy, do I have some work to do! As I process this knowledge and begin to let it penetrate my heart, I am really convicted.
On this 4th of July, I have realized my “American freedom” lacks God’s purity and may even reflect the freedom of folly. As for me, my freedom focus has been altered by this single verse.
I pray this post has given you a different stance of freedom and made you think about what is wise for your life more than what the world says is right or wrong.
1. Peace-loving-inclined to avoid conflict or aggression
2. Considerate-careful not to cause inconvenience or hurt to others
3. Submissive-ready to conform to God’s authority; meekly obedient
4. Full of mercy-compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm
5. Good fruit-to produce God-pleasing goodness
6. Impartial-treating all rivals or disputants equally; fair and just
7. Sincere-free from pretense or deceit