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by Phil Ware
In just a few more days, it will be Independence Day in the United States. July 4 always carries a special meaning, but this year it will clearly mean more. With many of us having someone we know in harms way in Iraq this Independence Day, the value of freedom with peace has added meaning and importance. Winning the peace is always harder than winning the war, and the ongoing hostilities in Iraq are proving this true once again. Freedom is always much easier to declare than to realize. I would encourage you to pray for freedom with peace as this weekend approaches, and not just for those in Iraq, but also for those in the Middle East and also those in war-torn and strife-riddled regions in Africa. Freedom and peace are precious, but hard won, blessings.
As Christians, our freedom with peace was a hard won blessing, too. The Son of God on the Cross of Calvary purchased it with his blood. He set us free from the law of sin and death and destroyed him who had the power of death so that we could enjoy peace, grace, and freedom as blessings from God. Yet for us, freedom is also much easier to declare than to realize. The apostle Paul knew that our freedom was wonderful but dangerous. He had seen it abused and was terribly concerned when he wrote the churches in Galatia:
So Christ has really set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and dont get tied up again in slavery to the law. ... For you have been called to live in freedom not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. (Galatians 5:1, 13 NLT)
However, Paul is equally concerned that we not lose our freedom in another way. We can turn our freedom into an excuse to do whatever we want, no matter those whom it may impact and influence. While we have every right to do many things, when those actions damage another in Christ or harmfully influence a brother or sister for whom Christ died, then we have sinned. (1 Corinthians 8:7-13) Freedom is a precious and costly gift that we must handle with loving responsibility. It is not freedom to get whatever our baser selves desire, but freedom serve each other in love. (Galatians 5:13)
While this is a time to celebrate the freedom we have as people, lets also renew our commitment to the freedom we have in Christ. Lets hear the apostle Pauls warning about the dangers to freedom legalism and loveless disregard for others. Lets renew our commitment to live with loving freedom in the Kingdom of God. Lets recommit ourselves to living with loving concern toward our brothers and sisters in Christ. To do less is to take for granted the high cost of freedom that Jesus purchased on the hill of Calvary.
Author: Phil Ware
Publication Date: June 30, 2003
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