The Wise Use of Freedom
by Ron Susek
©Golden Quill Publications
A close friend of mine, Bob Uber, was frustrated in Viet Nam when a commanding officer usurped his authority, told him to stand down, then, led Bob's troops on a mission. Frustrated, Bob watched his platoon drive away. His eyes widened, however, when 150 yards down the road an IED blew the officer who replaced him into eternity.
Now, many years later, Bob and his wife, Doreen, are watching their brilliant, medically trained son, Matt, being deployed to Afghanistan. Matt, is leaving his wife, Kim, and five children to enter harm's way. I asked Bob to thank Matt on my behalf for risking his life to protect my freedom. "Further," I said, "tell Matt that his sacrifice compels me all the more to use the freedom he is defending to preach the gospel."
We owe it to all who valiantly defend our freedom to use it wisely. Anything less is dishonorable on our part. Plus, we risk losing all that they have done on our behalf.
Freedom comes as a gift of grace. We are horrified as some present leaders ignore the morally-based and blood-won Constitution penned by our forefathers. The result is a breathtaking decline in freedom.
Can you imagine the horror in heaven when a child of God is cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, made holy and blameless, given full rights to address God the Father in prayer, then surrenders to the call of the flesh?
Spiritual freedom is always shadowed by a thousand voices luring us back to the pleasures of sin. Moses distinguished himself as a man willing to suffer abuse with his people rather than enjoy sin's pleasures for a season (Hebrews 11:25).
For Moses, the pleasures of sin would have meant ignoring Israel's plight while wallowing in the opulence and power that he had in Egypt. In the end, a flawed character would have reduced his manhood and deepened his people's slavery.
Paul warned the Roman believers not to violate the grace that won our freedom with these words: "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means!" (Romans 6:1 ESV).
Look at the challenge of Hebrews 12:1-2 [ESV]: ". . . let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
I cannot salute the American flag, see a soldier being deployed or hear the National Anthem sung without feeling challenged to do my part to defend the costly freedom given by grace. And Matt's faceoff with danger refreshes that commitment for me.
I find the same summon arise, even more deeply, when I sing Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. What am I doing to walk worthy of God's gift of grace that bestowed eternal freedom?
Reflecting upon the wise use of freedom, I am drawn to words written by a prisoner named Paul: "I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called . . ." (Ephesians 4:1 ESV).
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