1. So we can have a place to worship freely.
2. So we can have our own form of churches and buildings and no one can tell us otherwise.
3. So we can meet publicly and legally and not be arrested and/or persecuted.
Very beneficial. Very legit.
But, I wonder if we are missing something that, once we realize what we have, might send us running laughing like crazy people. I wonder if there is something in our freedom, that if we don’t take advantage of it in this day and age, could be taken from us by the time our grandchildren come around.
Is there something in this freedom that needs to change in us in order to make sure those coming behind us aren’t caught off guard, ill-equipped and unprepared for what might lie ahead?
I say there is.
My friend just told me a story about how her mom is a Kohl’s guru. We will call her Sharon. Sharon knows when the sales are, how much she can get off in coupons, and how to use the Kohl’s card faster than a gunslinger at noon. The woman knows Kohl’s. So, it was to her surprise when she went to scan a purse that was originally $100 and it came up $.50. She took the purse back to customer service, plopped it up on the counter and said, “Would you check this? It came up fifty cents and I’m just not sure that’s right.” The cashier checks the tag, scans it… $.50. The cashier then typed in the bazillion numbers on the tag and it came up $.50 again! They stood there stupefied. Calls to managers were made. CFO came in on a helicopter to check it out! A call to the White House and Secret Service and low and behold it was $.50!
The cashier looks at Sharon and in sort of a question says, “Five dollars?” Now, I’m not sure what happened here, but Sharon said, “Okay!”
Wait a minute! The tag rang up $.50 and because it was too unbelievable, Sharon went with the five dollars. (Note: she had a 30% coupon so she only paid about $3 in the long run! But, back to the five dollars.) Sharon had them against the ropes. She had the advantage. It was not only for her benefit to see such a price, such freedom in shopping, but it was to her advantage! She could have called the shots and walked out of there with a pert-near free purse!
She didn’t see it. She paid the five dollars-ish and left feeling pretty good about herself. She didn’t take advantage of what was given to her. She didn’t leverage the situation.
And neither do we.
We have freedom in this country to do what we want within the reasonable boundaries of the law. We have been given a tag that reads “FREE!” and we only see it as to our benefit.
This is the missing component: We don’t leverage this freedom the way we could.
Not only do we have the gift of freedom for our benefit, we have the gift of freedom to really stick it to the spiritual enemy in our lives and the freedom to help the lives of others around the world. We are missing our chance to leverage this freedom. Missing. It.
Imagine with me:
What if we used our freedom, not to just build amazing buildings and fill them with lights and music and soft seats, but to spend hours in those wonderful buildings praying for our suffering brothers and sisters who meet in secret, in the dark?
What if we used our freedom to not only be successful and make loads of money, but made as much as we could make in the freedom given to us that we could give millions and millions to those in need, not just here, but around the world? To send as many as possible. To fund every church and every ministry to it’s capacity. What if…..
What if we used our freedom, saw our freedom, not through the lens of our own benefits and pleasures, but through the lens of our freedom benefiting the world we live in?
What if we no longer looked at our freedom as protection, or our right, and how it benefits us individually and as religious people, but what if we looked at our freedom as something we have been given that has given us the upper hand, the leverage to really change the world?
Our me-centered Christianity inside a me-centered country makes for an overall globally limping movement. We limp through our service to the nations and each other. We are always asking for more money in a country with money coming out its proverbial ears. We are always looking for volunteers when our seats are stuffed full of people every week. Our para-church organizations, although exhausted from it, are always coming to us with the need for more money, more support.
Because we view our lives, our freedom to come together and be the “church” as something we have the right to do and should get the benefit from.
This must change.
If we saw our freedom as the most precious, powerful, laughing-in-the-face-of-the-enemy advantage, there would be no stopping us.
But, we don’t.
We see our freedom as something here to serve us.
We complain about the smallest inconvenience and call it persecution rather than falling on our knees because we realize our “persecution” pales in comparison to our brothers and sisters around the world. Our persecution should drive us to prayer for them. But we let it drive us to anger, stomping our feet and saying “That’s not fair!”
“We can’t take our Bible’s to school!” Big deal. Hide the word in your heart so you don’t have to take the Bible to school. And pray for those who have no Word in their hands or they will be arrested, or killed. Use that persecution to wake us up to the fact that the Word of God has yet to reach millions of ears. Use the freedom we have to send the Bible around the world.
“They took the 10 Commandments down!” Come on. It is not up to “America” to honor God, it is up to the people in America to honor him, and a plaque with the 10 Commandments on it does nothing in the hearts of man. A plaque hung on a wall may honor the institution of Judeo-Christian beliefs, but honor to God is in the hearts of men. We do not make images of what we believe in and call it honor or worship. We honor and worship God in who we are and what we do to and with our fellow man. Use that irritation that you see our country changing to pray for those who have yet to hear of God and his love and grace. Pray for the people of our country to come back to honoring God, and then, live it out in your own life.
This is leveraging our freedom. This is not letting these small, progressive forms of persecution do anything but push us to our knees, pull out our debit cards, and use the freedom of speech to preach and teach.
Leverage this freedom to pray.
Leverage this freedom to give.
Leverage this freedom to go.
Leverage this freedom to send.
Leverage this freedom to learn and study.
Leverage this freedom to benefit the world.
Could it get worse? You bet. Will it? No doubt.
But, our fight is not for America. America will come and go, but the Word of the Lord, the Church of God will last forever. Our freedom should be about His Kingdom, not ours. And when it gets worse, I pray we are ready to be prayer-filled and Spirit-filled people.
“The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave”
Be in this land of freedom, use it hard against the enemy. May we hold our freedom and shake it in the face of our enemy and cry to God:
“We will not let this freedom make us drunk on self-centered needs and wants. We will use this freedom to intercede where he destroys, pray for those who are under his rule, and pray against the darkness in this land of light! We will not shrink back in our comforts and pleasure just to watch him ravage the world. We will shake off the hypnotic state of freedom and pleasure and fight with a savage war-like fight in us that he has yet to see. We now see our freedom as a mighty sword against him and we will leverage it like no other generation has done before us. We have Christ in us, on un, around us and before us. We have the Spirit of the living God prepared and ready to do explosive mighty powers and acts through us and we will not let his temptation of sin and self-indulgence blind us to Your power in us! Finally, this country and it’s freedom should be a tool for us to use well. This country and it’s freedom cause us to smile a in his face because we have him against the ropes. We have been given the most amazing gift and we will use it for Your Kingdom and not ours. When the day comes, it will not be America standing, it will be the great Son of God and our enemy’s day will come to an end.”
Let it be, King Jesus.