Sunday, July 26, 2009

Freedom vs. Security

America prides itself on being the home of the free. How many battles have been fought and lives lost in pursuit of achieving or protecting that freedom. But have we really found what we were looking for?

Long before this country came to be, before any formalized country came to be, our Creator declared us not only free, but secure. Genesis 2 tells us God provided everything Adam could need, including giving him purpose. And what did God do next? He said, "You are free ...." But God knew it was not just freedom that Adam needed; it was security. So He warned Adam how to keep his new found freedom in check. Adam had free reign over all of paradise, with a warning to avoid one tree. Then God met one more need and created Eve to be his companion and helpmate. So what does Adam do next?

Thank God for creating him?
Take a stroll to admire his new home?
Take his hot new wife on a date?
Dive right in to the purpose God had given him?

If only.

And with Adam and Eve in the genetic line of us all, our choices are often no better.

The problem here is in perspective. We think we're not really free if there are any limitations on us at all. We're not adults with curfews, we're free children of God living under the protection of a loving Father.

Let me see if I can illustrate this.

This is a picture of my niece and nephew playing in the yard in front of their house. They've spent many an hour playing freeze tag, keep away, fetch (with their dogs), or any number of other great yard games. They love it! And other than a possible pile of poo from said dogs, this yard holds no danger for them. They are safe and secure there. But only if they stay in the yard. Del & Chris have instructed them not to go into the street. I know what you're saying, "What cruel parents! That's so restrictive, so confining! Those kids will never have any fun if you limit their freedom!" Yeah, they look like they're really suffering don't they.

Ok, I'll give you another example. A couple years ago I started a new job. It was a good job for a good company. But I didn't see it as such at first. All I could see was the limitations, the handcuffs that had been placed on my freedom:
  • I worked in a cubicle.
  • I had to keep a time card.
  • I had to schedule vacations and get them approved by a manager.
  • And I was limited to ... brace yourself ... one hour for lunch.
Oh the horror! So when someone came along and offered me a different job for a different company ... one with lots of freedom, whatever I needed to be happy ... I took it! Of course this is better for me. I can't work in these restrictive conditions. One problem ... turns out this great job, didn't include the security of a guaranteed paycheck. At times, living free also meant working for free. Suddenly I realized, freedom is great as long as you don't have to give up security to get it.

The reality is we all have a deep desire for both. The thing is, we see God's warnings and instructions as kill joys to our freedom. But we've got it all wrong. If we will live within the parameters God has established for our protection then we can enjoy both freedom AND security. But if we insist on searching for some perceived greater freedom, we will do so at the expense of ultimate security.

That's the beauty of the gospel of Christ. With Him we can have our cake and eat it too. We can be both free and secure. But this freedom is so much greater than a world without rules.

It is running free in the yard ...
It is purpose with provision ...
It is paradise free from shame ...

It is the American Dream in its purest form.

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