- Rick LoPresti
There is in the spiritual nature of man an inherent desire to be free. It is a thirst like that for
water. We must realize that we cannot ignore this thirst any more than we can ignore our
bodies’ thirst for water. “Our reliance is on the love of liberty which God has placed in our bosoms (Abraham Lincoln).” We must understand what true liberty is, and how to have it. There is real freedom and many false freedoms. When we attempt to satisfy our longing for true
freedom with false freedom, we are like the one who attempts to satisfy his bodily needs with
drugs or junk food. Liberty is not freedom from responsibility or accountability. Liberty carries greater individual responsibility. That is why “liberalism” is a misnomer and a lie. It is not liberal by the Biblical definition, nor does it give freedom. Liberality is someone voluntarily giving of their own substance directly to another to help meet their need (Proverbs 11:25, 1Corinthians 16:3, 2Corinthians 8:2). Liberalism is the government taking someone’s substance by force and redistributing it to those who have not earned it (Proverbs, 2Thessalonians 3:10-12). Both those whom it is taken from and those to whom it is given are thus enslaved. Freedom is given by God so one can take responsibility for his own actions, and not be a slave to another to whom he surrenders his freedom and responsibility. If one depends on the government, one is its slave. “We must not look to government to solve our problems. Government is the problem (Ronald Reagan).” “The most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help (Ronald Reagan).” We can be slaves to God or to man, but we will serve a master. God gives us the freedom and responsibility to choose our master, but we must be aware of the consequences of our choice – God and life, or sin and death.
God gives men freedom to choose, and that is the greatest freedom. In the garden of Eden, God did not restrict them. He told them they could eat from every tree of the garden except one (Genesis 2:16-17). They were given every tree that was good for food and pleasant to the eyes. It was only the idea that they could decide what was good and evil for themselves outside the parameters God set that was forbidden. The devil twisted Eve's perception when he told her that God said they could not of every tree of the garden (Genesis 3:1). He got her to focus on the one thing that was forbidden instead of the abundance of what they freely had. The only thing that was forbidden was that which would destroy them. God never forbade the tree of life. Only their wrong choices did that. It doesn't change anything about God whether we do right or sin. It is us that is affected. God wants us to be free and blessed, but we will never be free from authority. We choose how we will be under authority. The laws of the land are an example. We can act responsibly, "police" ourselves, and be free; or we can break the law, be policed by the government, and be in jail. We are under authority either way. When my children were younger and testing parental authority, I told them they would always be under someone's authority, so they might as well accept it and make it work for them instead of against them.
The only way to be truly free is to submit to the authority of God by obeying His word (John 8:30-36, Romans 6:16-23). The real jail is not made of cement and iron. It is made of our own sins. Only Jesus Christ can make us free from that prison. We can either be free in God by being His servants, or we can try to be free from God by being a servant of sin. Those are the only two options. The first one is far superior.
This is not only true of spiritual liberty. It is also true of political liberty. The biggest problem in America (or anywhere else) is that people think they can have liberty without God. The founders of America understood that liberty only comes from God:
a. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are
endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life,
Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (The Declaration of Independence)”.
b. “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish
Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the
general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do
ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America (The preamble
of the U.S. Constitution)”.
c. “can the liberties of a nation be thought secure, when we’ve removed their only firm
basis, a conviction in the minds of people that these liberties are the gifts of God?
d. “I consider it as nothing less than a question of liberty or slavery…Three millions of
people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as we possess, are
invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides sir, we shall not
fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of
nations…Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains
and slavery? Forbid it Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as
for me, give me liberty, or give me death! (Patrick Henry)”.
e. “Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is
acknowledged. When our founding fathers passed the first amendment, they sought to
protect churches from government interference (Ronald Reagan, March 8, 1983)”
f. “The scriptures tell us that “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” And for
more than two centuries now our blessed land has grown and prospered, guided by a
deep faith in the Almighty, and an unquenchable thirst for freedom (Ronald Reagan,
July 3, 1982)”.
Freedom is not free. We must be willing to pay the price for it. We must remember those
who paid the price before us, follow their example, and pursue true liberty. We must exercise the personal discipline and responsibility freedom requires. We must be vigilant against the enemies of freedom, be battle capable, and be ready and willing to fight for it.“ Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same (Ronald Reagan).” “America was founded by people that believed that God was their rock and safety. I recognize we must be cautious in claiming that God is on our side, but I think it’s alright to keep asking if we’re on His side (Ronald Reagan).”
This is true of both spiritual and political liberty. The reason American freedom is declining is because of the failure to remember it comes from God. Jesus paid for our freedom from sin with His blood. It did not come easy. If we want to be free, we must also pay a price of self-discipline, vigilance against the things that would enslave us, and teaching our children and others what it takes to get and maintain freedom. “Without God there is no virtue because there’s no prompting of the conscience. And without God democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under (Ronald Reagan).” Abraham Lincoln asked the question in his address at Gettysburg how long a nation conceived in liberty can endure. This was only 87 years into this great experiment. He called for a new birth of freedom. It will only come if the people seek the God from whom it comes.