Some Freedoms Aren’t All They’re Cracked Up To Be!

© Wanda J. Murry, September 18, 2020

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)

Additional Scriptures: 

  • 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?

Body Strengthening

Set your affection on things above – Colossians 3:2

A brother-in-Christ, Dedrick Abbott, posted the below comment on Facebook. It’s a topic that me and my boss talk about all the time!

Dedrick Abbott  1 hr  Followers of Christ should be more interested in building each other up than tearing each other apart. It is easy to be critical, but when we bear with others we enter into their story and the little things that cause them to act the way that they do. This is an opportunity for the church to be counter-culture to the world around us. We should try to value others for who they are and not simply for what they can do.

It’s true … the body of the church has played a pretty good role in causing this growing lean toward disdain for “church” followers of Jesus Christ. It’s true … a lot of churches have to make a greater effort in drawing the hurt, abused, fearful, confused and lost into our bosom (a familiar source of protection, security or affection) in our bodies of worship.

It starts, however, with INDIVIDUALS who truly love the Lord and who purposely DEMONSTRATE that LOVE person-to-person. It requires both the church-goer and the Believer to come to understand that not everyone is mature enough to operate in the will of God’s command that we love each other. Loving others in spite of their faults is a learned heart attitude that can only be grasped by those who truly have allowed God full access to their heart.

In all the years I attended church from my youth up into my young adult years, it took me until I was around 37 yo to recognize that not everyone who says, Lord, Lord, does God’s will. I learned that not everyone who attends church is a “Believer” who practices godly living. At the end of the day, I had to make up my mind to put my focus on God and not people. I had to stop allowing people to be the deciding factor in how, why, when and where I worshipped the Lord of my salvation.

woman writing in white board

 

The lessons taught me to make a personal choice to walk with Christ and focus on Him instead:

  • I choose to learn more about Him for myself – not accept second-hand knowledge
  • I choose to know Him – not just accept someone else’s experiences of Him
  • I choose to seek Him – not through a preacher or teacher but through His Word
  • I choose to serve Him out of my heart belief of His deity – not look to flesh for His image

I learned early in life that man was a sinful creature, flawed, and in need of a savior. It was in my immature and infantile stage as a Believer that I allowed the fallacy of man to cripple my relationship commitment and dedicated service to Christ. God kept reminding me through situations and circumstances that I needed His umbrella of love and protection more than man’s. Because of God’s patience, I was able to grow into the Woman of God I am today, firmly committed and settled in heart, mind, and spirit to stand firm in Christ alone. Christ is the umbrella that keeps me from being overtaken by the desires of my flesh and the enemy’s destructive vices.

I can tell you I spiritually feel like a young 20-something in Christ! My faith continues to grow stronger every day; I see the world for what it is—a battlefield for a spiritual kingdom that has already has been designated as the inheritance to the One who sits at the right hand of His Father – Jesus Christ.

It is true, there is much work to be done within and without the church, and it’s sad that those who need to make their standing in Christ sure are still busy looking outward instead of inward. For those doing their part, I say God Bless You and Keep You Strong on the path of His righteousness. The greatest prayer the Body of Christ can utter continually is that God would help us individually examine ourselves:

  • How is my relationship with Christ?black and white blackboard business chalkboard
  • Who am I sharing Christ with?
  • What is my service lane in the Body?
  • Where do I exercise my servanthood to Christ?
  • When has my light brought others near to Christ?

Attitude is a huge deal when it comes to operating in the world as ministers of reconciliation and Christ representatives. It’s crucial in these last days that the Body of Christ gives more focus to redeeming the lost from the hand of our enemy and incorporate more of sharing Christ into our areas of purpose. Remember, the most important call on every believer’s life is the call to witness – to share the gospel of Christ with a lost world and bring sinners into the saving grace of Salvation.

Let us gather the spiritual tools that enable us to strengthen the weak and draw the hurting. I was hurt in the church many times. It took finding one person in the Body to love on me. My need for Christ helped me consistently get back up and go back into the Body. I came to understand by-and-by that at the Judgment Seat of Christ there is no finger pointing. Each of us will stand alone before our sovereign God while a panoramic view of our life showing the good – the bad the ugly, and the abominable flashes before the heavenly hosts. That should make you shiver.

Church Body, we definitely need to get our act together so we don’t do more damage to the Body of Christ and God’s name. It might be better for some to become or remain “uncover Christians” so we don’t scatter those with a real desirous need of the Savior. What my brother-in-Christ spoke today should give all of God’s children reason to pause—consider their ways—and GET RIGHT CHURCH, because we will soon be going home!!

To my weaker brothers/sisters-in-Christ, to the hurting, and to the lost who have judged the Body of Christ – I’d like to make this suggestion: Find one person in the Body who demonstrates God’s love and care and then draw near to them. Most of the time this is called Discipleship in churches. They’ll help you grow in your relationship with Christ. I’ve seen process in action and everyone benefits, including the Church Body.  The only way you’ll learn to stand in Christ in the midst of the spiritually immature is for you to seek to know Christ intimately yourself. Doing this will help you stand by faith as an individual while operating in faith corporately.

women watching gray tablet computer

Copyright © Speak True Life, Wanda J. Murry, February 1, 2019

[Eternal security is found “in Christ” and there is a plan already in place to guide you to that road:  Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:12, 10:9; 1 John 1:9]