Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

"...you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another," Galatians 5:13

When I was very young my Dad would bring home sparklers and firecrackers for our 4th of July celebration. In those days we were able to shoot off fireworks in our back yard! We could hardly wait until it got dark so we could begin the nosey part of our celebration. I remember the excitement of holding a sparkler and twirling it round and round (with my Dad's supervision). The older kids were able to light their own firecrackers and throw them in the air. We thought that was the most exciting part of our celebration. I also remember a time when my Dad's cousin had a firecracker explode in her hand. She was only a few years older than me...but in my eyes she was one of the "bigger" kids. She had to go to the emergency room...and we all were reminded again (by our parents) just how dangerous fireworks really were...even sparklers!

Paul is reminding me that as a Christian I am free in Christ. I'm free of the oppressive reign of sin in my life. I am free from eternal bondage to Satan. I'm not only free from some things, I'm free to do some very exciting things. I'm free to hold the light of Christ high against a dark world who doesn't know Him. I'm free to enjoy the excitement that comes from lifting Him high in praise and adoration.

However, with my freedom comes a word of warning! Paul reminds me that being free means needing to take certain precautions. But...knowing I'm free from eternal damnation doesn't give me the right to take sin in my hand and draw it close to me. Being free means I make every effort to make right choices to not hurt someone else or the cause of Christ. Being free from the penalty of sin means I read Biblical precautions about my flesh. In other words, until I die and go to heaven, I'm still going to be faced with some pretty dangerous temptations. Those temptations are like fireworks. If they're not handled properly they can explode in my hand and cause hurt and damage.

What fleshly temptations might I hold too close? To love myself more than others. To make choices in my own best interest rather than others. To serve my needs and desires at the expense of not meeting others. Yes, Paul reminds me, "...you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another," Galatians 5:13.

As I celebrate America's freedom today, I recognize the responsibility such freedom demands. Our national freedom doesn't give us the right to hurt or exploit others. As God takes our freedom to a higher, spiritual level, how would you answer this question: "How's your freedom working out for you? How's it working out for others?" Happy 4th of July!

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