What does freedom mean to me? It means walking down a street unafraid that I will be stopped, questioned or imprisoned.

It means choosing the car I drive, the house I buy, the clothes I wear, the food I eat and the water I drink.

It means the opportunity to choose education, job training, working from home, starting a business.

It means choosing an 8 hour work day or a 12 hour work day; taking vacation in the summer or the winter; traveling within the USA or venturing across the border or across the oceans.

But genuine freedom is more than all of that combined. It is knowing that in my soul I am right with God, my Creator. It means I am free to choose good rather than evil; to bless rather than curse.

It means I freely love because I am freely loved by Him. There is nothing I have to withhold because nothing is withheld from me. I have access to all the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control a woman could want so I can freely extend those graces to others.

In Christ, I can do anything I want and know that I am fully accepted. But as Paul says, even though everything is permissible, not everything is beneficial. (1 Corinthians 6:12) And in another place he says we shouldn’t use our freedom as an excuse to do whatever we want and thereby destroy our freedom. (See Galatians 5:13-16)

Genuine freedom is serving others from a heart of love. It is putting others first without fear of being overlooked or forgotten.

Unrestrained freedom results in oppression. Oppression for both the one practicing freedom without boundaries who longer lives in freedom but subservience to selfishness and oppression for anyone who happens to get in the way of the unrestrained, selfish choices.

My heart’s desire is to live in a place of freedom – freedom that allows me to love generously and live selflessly. This week as we enjoy BBQs, fireworks, camping, boating, air shows, freedom fests, and other celebrations of our nation’s declaration of independence, remember to celebrate the freedom of your soul. Declare your independence from your oppressor, offering a prayer of gratitude for freedom that is truly freedom!

Until next time…

May the Lord bless you and protect you.

May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.

May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

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