Words from the Heart for Monday July 4th, 2016
Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.
1 Peter 2:16 (NIV)
Live as Free People
Today is the birthday of Canada’s neighbour: the United States of America. They fought for their freedom in 1776, and so the U.S.A. is 240 years old! The Bible says freedom must be used to serve others. How can you be free and be a servant at the same time?
The Canadian Bill of Rights, passed in 1960, was the first federal human rights law in Canada. It guarantees many basic rights and freedoms, including the “right of the individual to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property” and the right not to be deprived of any of those rights except in accordance with “due process,” meaning basic procedural fairness. The Constitution Act of 1982 opens with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It lays out the fundamental freedoms which Canadians enjoy, beginning with the statement: ‘Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law’. It then lays out the freedoms – freedom of conscience and religion; freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; freedom of peaceful assembly; and freedom of association.
If you have ever lived without freedom, and are set free, it can be a challenge to know how to make decisions and live in liberty. I have a friend who spent 25 years behind bars and when his sentence was completed, it was a huge adjustment to know how to live in freedom. He hadn’t had to make decisions for 25 years and suddenly he was faced with many, on a daily basis. There is a similar principle for new followers of Jesus Christ. Those who have been imprisoned by sin and guilt for years, and who are suddenly set free by God, can find it challenging at first to know how to live with the liberty that Jesus gives. God understand this and so inspired the apostle Peter to write this in 1 Peter 2:16: “Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.” As followers of Jesus, we are called to live as free men and women – free from the shame that sin brings, free from naturally yielding to temptation every time it rears its ugly head, free to walk the life of holiness. And Peter gives some practical advice on how to live in that freedom. We are called to recognize that we belong to Jesus. We are to follow Him and as we do, He will keep us from all that would enslave us to sin again.
These have been words from the heart.