I have two new young adults in my immediate life – grandchildren who have hit that second magical age range of 18-20 years old (the first magical age being 13 years old and I have a granddaughter reaching this stage next month). They came out the high school gate chomping at the bits to break loose and run free. I’m watching them with a sense of excitement and joy for what they will discover about themselves, others, and this world. But, I’m also praying and inwardly fearful about some of the hard truths they will learn about how life isn’t always fair, all people aren’t inherently good, and how their free will has consequences that could set up strongholds in their lives not easily shaken.
I have one of each: a male and a female. With both, their parents and I have shared some of our experiences, failures, and triumphs. Their parents and I have warned them against making the mistakes we did in our youth to avoid the struggles we endured, some with lingering effects. They both listen, but their right to freely choose has clouded their decision in some instances. However, we are grateful there have been no mistakes thus far that has caused significant detours in their lives. Though, they both have come close to the edge of falling into a disaster or two.
I remember my time in the 18-20-year-old range. There was so much beckoning me to draw near. I got real close to some things and dabbled in a handful too many. As I look back, I know my mother’s prayers, coupled with God’s abundant grace, kept me from consequences that would have been earth-shattering for my mom, me, and my future. My curiosity and naiveté took me down some roads better left untraveled. At the same time, though, what I experienced gives me the credibility to explain to my grandchildren why they should avoid some things.
I’ve been listening to Tony Evan’s podcasts on American Idols this week, and it’s been food for thought. It got me to thinking how some of the freedoms we have as individuals here in America aren’t all they’re cracked up to be when we stop and dissect a few of those freedoms. Yes, the American dream offers a freedom that, in some ways, have led us into freely and openly indulging into things GOD clearly warned us to avoid as He laid out the laws and precepts to the Nation of Israel. The Old Testament is full of events that give a good picture of the physical consequences (i.e., bondage, enslavement, loss of GOD’s protection and provision, etc.) of doing things right in our own eyes. For example, in Deuteronomy:
- 5:7 says – “Thou shalt have none other gods before me.” We have given GOD’s position as our authority to other gods [people, astrology, mysticism, WICCA, Atheism, earth-centered or nature worship, to name a few]. Transparency here: in my carnal, baby Christian days, my husband was my god.
- 5:13-14a says – “Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God:” I’m talking about reserving your day of worship to worship, commune, and meditate on the things of God. We are workaholics. I wonder how many who don’t have jobs that require Sunday hours leave service to rush off to work and labor because they either rested on Saturday or didn’t finish the task(s) they started? Transparency here: I struggle sometimes finding the right balance, not on Sunday, but through the other six days of work to get the things I need to get done, done. Part of that is saying “Sorry, but no,” but most of it is a lack of discipline so – I solicit your prayers for more discipline in all areas of my daily life.
- 6:14 says – “Ye shall not go after other gods…“ Be honest here — we pursue a lot of things habitually. Careers, relationships, money, materials, etc., as gods in our life. Transparency here: Sadly, one of my pursuits since 1997 has been excessive/emotional eating or what the Bible calls gluttony – I solicit your prayers for my deliverance to enjoy food but not overindulge.
- 8:5-6 says – “Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee. Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.” This, my friends, could be the biggest struggle for the Believer in Jesus Christ, the Savior, who has done nothing to grow in the knowledge of GOD’s Word. A spanking from God can feel like your whole world is crashing down around you. It makes a person feel like nothing ever works out for them. It can send a person into depression, make a person turn back from following GOD, and even cause a person to harbor all the things in their heart that Galatians 5:19-21 says we shouldn’t, thereby, grieving the Holy Ghost. Transparency here: I never liked spankings and got few in my childhood. However, as I came to understand my consequences were part of my Father’s chastisement, I began to understand as an adult that I didn’t like nor want them, and that’s when a lot of things changed for me in my walk with Christ.
This is why some freedoms aren’t all they’re cracked up to be! Where our freedom isn’t a get out of jail free card from parental, governmental, or GOD’s authority and rules. Where my grandchildren and other babes in Christ get stuck and wrestle to understand why they can’t have or do whatever they want when they want, and how they want. It’s why they don’t understand they need to read the bible, listen to wise counsel, apply the knowledge, and do the right thing even when everyone else around them is doing the world thing.
Some freedoms aren’t all they’re cracked up to be and never have been outside of the authority that God set in place so very long ago. Even when that authority has been corrupted, polluted, and misapplied, there is a need to examine what any freedom will cost you.
Our greatest teacher is what God put in His Word:
“In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”Judges 17:6 (KJV)
- Judges 21:25
- Psalm 36:2
- Proverbs 12:15
- Proverbs 16:2
- Proverbs 21:2
Trust me, my freedoms haven’t always benefited me. Have yours?