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By: Dr. Skip Myers
web posted July 4, 2005
Nothing makes me feel more like an American than going grocery shopping. Now, before you think I am making a mockery of this great freedom we possess and those who were willing to pay the price for it, let me explain. Do you remember the slogan for a peanut butter company that said, “Choosey mothers choose (insert brand name)? I stood at the peanut butter section the other day and beamed with pride to be an American. Before me was a plethora of peanut butters: smooth, creamy, crunchy, extra crunchy, with jelly, without jelly, organic. And I had the right to choose which one my wife told me to buy!
In the dictionary, definition #5 of freedom reads, “freedom is the capacity to exercise choice, free will.” No one told me what peanut butter I had to buy. No one said that I wasn’t good enough or the right kind of person to be entitled to choose my peanut butter. The company was free to develop it, market the product, ship it, and share the profits with its employees. All because throughout our history there have been men and women who refused to let freedom’s light be extinguished. They not only paid the ultimate price for our democratic way of government but also that we might have the right to make a choice regarding everything from our president to our peanut butter.
I cannot imagine living under the tyranny of not having a choice. I realize there is a continued struggle in this nation to separate church and state. It is strange that so many of our political and judicial leaders don’t understand that this is an impossibility. If the nature of freedom is tied up in the ability to choose, then we must understand that true freedom originated not with our founding fathers but with the Lord Himself.
Every once in a while a verse of scripture will hit me with new meaning. Such is the case with Galatians 5:1: It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery. Without Christ, I am enslaved and without choice. Without Christ, at best I can choose only the human for myself. Without Christ, the choices I make on behalf of others are only as good as I am. With Christ, I am now free to choose the absolute best for my life, share the divine with others, and live in the knowledge that I can choose more than what I am capable of being and doing.
Before my relationship with Christ, I may have thought I was absolutely free to choose as I pleased but in reality, I could choose only that which was human. I did not have the opportunity to choose more until I came to know the Lord. I fear the brand of freedom that doesn’t understand this reality. Many believe that freedom is the right to as you please without consideration of the consequences or affects on others. This brand of freedom is limited to what is humanly possible. We live in a time that demands more than just another brand of human philosophy.
Christ has set me free to know the freedom to choose. I now have true freedom because I have been given the opportunity to choose more than myself. But too often I choose to remain within my own abilities and reject the offer of Christ to lead, guide, and empower. I never really gave much thought to what it meant for Christ to set me free to freedom. It means that Christ loved me so much that He was willing to sacrifice His life knowing that while I would accept Him into my life, there would be numerous times I would exercise my freedom to choose not Him but me. And in doing so, I would in many ways make a mockery of His sacrifice. He died for me to choose Him so I would know what is best in my life. He died knowing more would reject true freedom than would ever accept it. But still He gave His life.
The freedom to express my freedom in Christ is a precious right we have as Americans. Please let us not make a mockery of the sacrifices made by so many by drowning in a sea of spiritual apathy. Pray for those who serve that we may express. Grow close to the One who sacrificed His all that you may have true freedom of choice. Choose Christ. In doing so, you also choose what is best for America. I hope you enjoyed your 4th and made it a tribute to the One who set you free.
To our men and women serving this great nation in the armed forces, we offer to you a heart of gratitude and pledge you our freedom to choose to love and support you by kneeling in prayer for you. Thank you for your sacrifice.
Dr. Myers is Pastor of Smiths Station Baptist Church, Smiths Station Alabama and a former Youth Minister of Sweetwater Baptist Church (1981-1986)
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