DEVOTIONAL GUIDE: Use your liberty to do good
"A society that desires freedom without goodness will get neither.”
The way a society understands the concept of “liberty” is of utmost importance.
If by “liberty” we mean that we are permitted to do all things, we mean little more than anarchy. This popular definition of liberty promotes individual autonomy and “my truth” over everything else. Of course, usually the limits of this autonomous freedom are found when it encounters someone else’s “wrong” opinion. What do you do when two opposing “truths” meet?
If by “liberty” we mean that we are now free to operate within the constraints of a properly ordered world, we mean that we have a greater calling and responsibility that freedom allows us to do. Freedom isn’t freedom to do “whatever,” but “whatever is right.”
When Paul says in Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free,” he is not telling Galatian Christians, “You are free to do whatever your hearts desire.” He is saying, “Being made free from the Law, you are now free to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading.”
Paul is not saying a Christian is under no law, but under a new, freeing law. He says in Romans 8:2, “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
Yes, we are under a law, and in that law is freedom. Christians, no longer under the restraints of sin and the Law, are now free to live a righteous life.
Let us remember this concept of liberty in the wake of Independence Day. If we focus on our freedom “from” without thinking about freedom “to,” we will end up in bondage.
If we desire government to leave us alone in peace without recognizing our civic duty to one another, we will collapse. If we crave a society that lets us do as we wish, we will reap the depraved desires of everyone else. If, however, we declare that we desire to live lives of sacrifice, love, and good for one another, we ought to then seek ways to be free to do those things.
In the end, freedom is not a goal, but a road that leads to doing what is right and good for one another, without restraint. To borrow a well-known phrase: "A society that desires freedom without goodness will get neither.” Let us seek the independence to do right.