by Doy Moyer
“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God” (I Peter 2:16).
If we really wish to honor freedom, then we will seek to live as servants of God. We cannot expect that God will continue to bless us with freedom when we abuse and misuse that freedom to do evil. Freedom may be a "right" in one sense (God gave us free will to choose our actions) but it is also a gift of God’s grace that comes with responsibility. To take freedom for granted and think that we can do whatever we want with no downside is to fail to honor God's will and God's gift.
Freedom also entails the ability, even the responsibility, to be willing to give up our rights for the sake of others (see Romans 14). Why? Because the goal of true freedom is not selfishness, but godliness. If we are unwilling to do so, then our personal freedoms become a vehicle for our own enslavement. We cannot be truly free unless we are willing and able to forego certain freedoms in order to win others to the Lord or to help others grow in the Lord. If we cannot give up a liberty for Christ and others, then we are enslaved to it.
Here is also where freedom in a physical nation crosses paths with freedom in Christ. In Christ, we are free from sin. This freedom from the domain of darkness and sin should cause us to want to use all other physical liberties and freedoms in a way that will bring glory to God and edify others. How else can we show our gratitude to the One who freed us?
We thank God for our freedom, but that thankfulness acknowledges that the source of all true freedom is God Himself, and He deserves our thanksgiving, our commitment, indeed our very lives.