A couple thousand people gathered at the pier last night to watch the colorful – and loud – fireworks display over the Atlantic Ocean, celebrating our nation’s freedom. Live music, glow sticks, bubbles, laughter, and the aroma of hamburgers on the grill made it a fun evening. We do have a lot to celebrate in this country.
Yesterday as I read God’s Word, I was reminded of the freedom we Christians have in Christ. We are no longer slaves to sin! We have reason to celebrate!
But today as I continued to read in Jeremiah, I am reminded of another freedom that gives us reason to grieve. 34: 17 says:
…So I now proclaim ‘freedom’ for you, declares the Lord – ‘freedom’ to fall by the sword, plague and famine…
That freedom doesn’t sound very fun. And God wants us to know it really isn’t. God goes on to tell Jeremiah that there are severe consequences to we who have the freedom to choose God, but ignore or disobey Him. He gave us the freedom to choose. He did not give us the freedom to decide on the outcome of our choices.
It’s like, as an adult I have the freedom to smoke if I want to. I do not have the freedom to decide whether or not I get lung cancer. I have the freedom to carry a gun. But if I use it to rob a bank, I don’t have the freedom to decide whether or not I go to jail.
There is always a flip side to freedom. Maybe we are seeing that played out in 2018 America. Freedom without responsibility seems to be destroying us.
Our God-given ability to choose is a precious thing. He wants us to choose Him. But He won’t take away our freedom to make that choice for ourselves. That’s up to us. But know, without a doubt, that choosing to follow God comes with blessing. Choosing to follow anything else comes with devastating consequences God would rather you didn’t experience.
You’re free to do what you want. So is God.