We live in funny times. Freedom is a word at the core of our American credo. But we may disagree more than ever on what it means. Freedom for one person sounds like something entirely different to another. We will hear it used a great deal the next few days as Independence Day comes around once more.
What does freedom mean for the Christian? What does freedom have to do with our faith?
On Monday of this week, Donald Miller posted the following on Facebook —
“God doesn’t try to control people. And He’s the only one who actually can. Perhaps there’s a lesson in there for us.”
We muse about freedom from the power of sin and death, freedom from anxiety and fear, freedom to live abundantly in a world of scarcity. All true. But at the core of our faith, in some sense, is human freedom. And the fact that God apparently submits to that freedom in not controlling us divine power might allow.
Donald Miller’s point is about our inability – and what should be our unwillingness to try – to control others. But it begins with the observation that God leaves us absolutely free. Free to say “no” to God’s gracious invitation. Free to reject what Christ offers just as freely. Free to take the other road, the road much traveled, the road that leads to suffering and death.
Human freedom may be the greatest power in the universe as it turns out to be the only thing greater than the power of God (at least in the realm of individual and corporate decision-making).
Freedom’s greater power comes when it is surrendered in love, gratitude, and wonder to the only One to whom we should submit our freedom. Something to consider as we celebrate another year of freedom in our land. And to think about what it says about our earthly ideas of freedom perhaps.