July is Here!
Most of us think about the 4th when July tools around and for good reason. We celebrate our freedom on July 4th deserves celebration. Because of men and women who were willing to give the greatest sacrifice, we are free to live out our rights of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Such freedom demands celebration.
Free to Choose
We live out our freedoms differently. Freedom to pursue happiness may mean sitting on a white-sanded beach with crystal clear water, serving as a public servant, or pursuing a passion such as art or music. It may mean making a difference such as fighting for the oppressed, being a voice for those without one, or making sure freedom remains secure by joining the military. I, as you know, have used my freedom helping others deepen their relationship with Jesus, letting them know they matter to God and are invited into a life-transforming relationship with God.
We are free to love others, share, give, and make a difference. We are also free to make questionable or even bad decisions. We can choose to live for others, or only care about ourselves and what we want.
We are free to live life how we choose but with freedom comes responsibility. We are free to choose our actions but with freedoms comes consequences which we don't control.
Sometimes in the freedom of our pursuits, we end up in a prison of our own making. How many addictions have started with the freedom to try something? What starts out as a free choice can end with an inability to stop. We are free no more.
In Deuteronomy 29, Moses gathers the people to review their covenant with God. A covenant is like an agreement and/or contract between a greater entity, in this case, God, and a lesser entity, in this case, the people.
In chapter 30 verse 15 Moses says:
15 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. 16 For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.
17 “But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18 then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.
Moses sets before the people two pathways. One path leads to life. The other path leads to death. They must choose which path they will follow. The path to life is simple, yet difficult: Love God. Keep his commandments. Walk in his ways. The path to destruction is simple and easy: Don't listen. Serve and worship other gods.
Freedom brings choice and responsibility. We have the freedom to pursue happiness, but that pursuit can end in destruction. There are individuals who have pursued wealth, power, celebrity, recognition, power, greed, selfishness, believing that those things bring the happiness they desire, yet the end of their road was one of loneliness, depression, anxiety, isolation, and destruction.
God sets before us a choice between life and death. We are free to choose. Choose wisely. Make a difference. Change the world. You are free to do so!