Posted on May 13, 2020 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters
We talk a lot about safety, protection, and being sanitized as if our comfort is the most essential thing; when, in reality, everything around us is decaying, and we are afraid. Honestly, it’s okay to be frightened; it is a corrupt world whose authority has been usurped by a selfish being. But sanitized, protected, and safe isn’t living, it is hiding. And comfort is far less precious than Freedom.
The people I admire the most are those with the courage to be something uncomfortable… Someone who fights for the truth, and not some manufactured idea that makes them feel safe. Someone willing to put everything on the line, declaring like Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty or give me death.” I know it’s not mainstream to think the founding fathers were heroes. Still, those who condemn them are free to do so only because of these men’s willingness to be something uncomfortable… offering up their lives for something greater than themselves… like Freedom. Were they perfect? No… They were human like you and me, trying to figure life out with what information and resources were available at the time. We are fortunate to have the benefit of the struggles, failures, and achievements of those who have gone before us. We forget they didn’t have the world at their fingertips like we do; they struggled with ideas like Freedom and, for most of them, waited a lifetime for its consequences to play out; these days, anyone’s blog or vlog can be ‘live and infectious’ in seconds.
MLK wrote one of the most eloquent arguments for Freedom from a prison cell, quoting from memory, ideas that swelled in his heart. He stated such percepts as “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.” Lincoln uttered an idea in 275 words that defined the struggle of an entire nation… and not just any nation, but “one conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
Who are these people today? Those willing to seek dangerous ideas in uncomfortable ways… those with the courage to stand up and be counted, simply because their families are hungry or it’s the right thing to do? Who are the brave men and women to speak the truth while putting off any claims to power or selfish ambition? People willing to see a need in others and not cloak their response in self-righteous false humility..? Who are those with the courage to be uncomfortable? Is there no one left who will stand before kings and declare, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve can save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18 NLT) Or, how about those willing to stand and claim, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” (Joshua 24:15)
Freedom is a dangerous idea, and when used recklessly, it can be abused, or when taken for granted, it is easily lost. It cost lives to gain and sustain Freedom… that is a very uncomfortable truth. This Freedom is not given by a document or government, it is “endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” And, “to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
True Freedom does not just mean a state of exemption from the power or control of another; the Creator offers more than just being ‘unhindered,’ God established Freedom from sin and its power over us. Granted with this Freedom is the release from the shame and guilt associated with sin. It was while we were still helpless to do anything about sin that at the right time, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who died for the ungodly. Christ’s obedience, displayed on the cross, has genuinely set Free those whose faith is in Him… even if that faith is uncomfortable. Now… we must make sure that we stay Free and not get tied up again in struggling for safety, protection, and comfort. Paul warns those “who live by the Spirit to eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. For when we place our faith in Jesus, there is no benefit in being self-righteous. What is important is faith expressing itself in love… through the Freely chosen desire to lay down our lives.” Now that sounds like something uncomfortable. (adapted from Galatians 5:1-6 NLT)
Not only do we need to remind ourselves that we are Free, but at times we may also need to remind others who try to control us. Whenever we do that, it will become uncomfortable. We must be both honest and kind, but conversations with those who try to control us don’t always end kindly. Paul knew this really well, but he was assured that “whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out His special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was NOT I but God who was working through me by His grace.” (1 Corinthians 15:10 NLT) God gained Freedom for us through Jesus’ perfect obedience demonstrated in the laying down of His life. This is the work to which Paul is referring. Jesus’ name is at stake in our Freedom, so don’t relinquish it. I realize when I say this, I am proposing a difficult thing. But Christ has set us Free at the cost of His life. The Freedom He gives us is worth fighting for… and all the other liberties that fall under this as well.
So, what’s more important, to be safe and comfortable or to be Free? And not just Free to do what you want, but Free from the power, shame, and guilt associated with sin? For those who believe, “we have a Freedom to confidently enter the Sanctuary by the blood of Jesus. He has established a new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh. Since we have a Great High Priest over the house of God, we are Free to draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. In this Freedom, let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:19-25)
There is nothing more precious than Freedom, especially Freedom fought and obtained on the cross of Calvary, where Jesus died for you and me. As uncomfortable as it may seem in the eyes of the world, through His costly victory, we can find rest for our souls. There is hope, and His name is Jesus. Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty with which Christ hath made you free. And don’t get entangled again with the yoke of bondage by trying to gain it all on your own.
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, grandfather, Pastor with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is the Associate Pastor of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church.
Think About This: “I don’t believe in positive thinking as a replacement for God but as a response to God. My goal isn’t that you would see your metaphorical cup as half full: I want you to see it as constantly overflowing!” ―
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and [i]mammon.” –Matthew 6:24
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the doctrinal and theological views held by America’s Keswick.