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The Monthly Bread Archives

"True Freedom"

1 Cor 6:12.."Everything is permissible for me" -- but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me" -- but I will not be mastered by anything.(NIV)

Many years ago when I played music professionally in a wedding band, at the end of every night there would be a special portion of the night dedicated just to deserts. A delightful experience for the flesh the caterers called "the Viennese Hour". The finest dainties were brought out as a dazzling display of calories for the guests. When the band took a break, I will never forget what one of the other band members said to me as I sat at our table. He asked me why I wasn't eating. I said because I'm not hungry for anything. He said "but it's the Viennese Hour." He spoke it with such conviction because it was a band member's given right to take advantage of a privilege that didn't cost anything. How could one be so foolish to pass up such a good deal? You would have to be a real sucker not to get in on this bargain. When I asked him what he was getting, he said "I'm gonna fill up two plates of one of everything." I said do you really need all of that? And he said "No, but I just like to know it's there just in case I want it." Needless to say, I got quite used to the Viennese hour for the next couple of years and put on about thirty pounds to show for it. It was permissible but didn't turn out to be so beneficial in the long run. Unfortunately, there is a lot of teaching on the "Viennese Hour" today in the church. I have heard some preachers present the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb" like it was time to load up the plates all over again. Meanwhile, there isn't much emphasis put on Holy Union of Christ the Bridegroom with his Bride the Church - only a zeal for the deserts.

Ask a mountain climber why he climbs the mountain and he will tell you "because its there." This may sound courageous and adventurous but the truth is, people fall to their deaths every year from taking unnecessary risks. So it is with the way of carnal man who claims his rights now without any consideration for the safety he receives in the will of God.

Romans 13 says.."No man is free unto himself." In other words, no one can waive the responsibility of accountability simply because they claim the right. The movie makers claim the right of free expression based on the need to graphically show the true human condition. The News media claims freedom of speech to tell it like it is. The Homosexual community claims the right of redefining the family. The Arts foundations claim the federal funds to paint things too shameful to repeat, while musicians claim the right to sing lyrics that incite riot against all Parental and Governmental Authority. The world has sold its soul to this idea of finding fulfillment in one's own freedom of expression and there is great insistence on shedding all limitations.

The attitude of "The world owes me and it is my right to have without any accountability for my actions whether it hurts others or not," is simply a selfish illusion. One must ask himself, even if I could rise to the place of complete self-indulgence, is it really the blessing I hoped it to be ? The futility of flesh will never find the fulfillment of eternity within itself and the end result is striving harder all the time to make a wrong way work.

No matter how much denial people live in, nothing can change the fact that "the wages of sin is death." The consequence of sin in this life is simply unavoidable. Free will gives us the right to choose, but in the choosing, will it build us up or tear us down. Not all choices will be constructive.

1 Cor 10:23.."Everything is permissible" -- but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible" -- but not everything is constructive.

Paul saw his own rights as being in danger of yielding to sin that waits, crouching at the door to master us. Rather than be mastered by any rights of his choosing, he seeks to discover the true spiritual benefit first (1 Cor 6:12). He realizes that producing his own freedom before its time may be the cause of walking before God in a defeated way. He knows that what we see as personal rights can be personal slavery, because only true freedom exists in the life of God.

Consider Jesus, who could have called on legions of angels to come rescue Him from the hands of sinful men. Surely the power of heaven was at His command, yet freedom from the cross of suffering would not have been to the benefit of mankind. It would have fallen short of God's purpose for His coming as Messiah in the first place. Although Jesus had the right to take the freedom available, he knew it would not have been the way of triumph God had in mind for this world. Man sees his relief in terms of an adversity-free environment, but God sees his victory in his release from the bondage of sin. Truly, our thoughts and ways are not God's.

Every freedom comes with a price. If it is received at the expense of others, there must be the responsibility to use it wisely. To use it properly, there must be an ability to know when to exercise the liberty and know when to lay it down, while all the time resisting the temptation to abuse it. This ability can come only from God and as we allow Him to put us in the harness of His will we can discover the depth, the width, the length and height of walking in true freedom.