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The Cost of Freedom

by Pete Plitt

American history is replete with valiant efforts by a group of people endeavoring to have new beginnings.  Their primary goal – religious freedom.  To their peers, they were giants of renown taking an entire nation into a new era of liberty this world had never before seen.  To the Crown, they were treasonous rebels worthy of the noose.  As one Founder said concerning their fight for freedom, “We must hang together, or we will most certainly hang separately.”  Individuals were now to be there own “king” of their castle and land, not some Government, person of wealth and power, or Monarch controlling them.  In the first time of world history, people were the sovereign.  The proper order of God, man, then government was recognized and desired.  For this reason America has been called, “The Great Experiment.”  This “Experiment” was delineated in documents called the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the one that gave notice to the King of England, The Declaration of Independence.  These writings did not guarantee the rights, they simply spelled out what they were.  Within were the words revealing the Giver of these rights, “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 “unalienable Rights” or rights that one cannot attach a “lien” [to tie, band or bind] against were called “self-evident” and were available to ALL PEOPLE.  If the Creator was the Giver of these rights, then no entity had the authority to usurp them, the exception being by due process of law.

It seems that we all have this intrinsic value system inside of us to not be enslaved.  Americans are not the only people worthy of our Creator’s gift of freedom.  Every person on this planet has equal right to liberty, being the sovereign over their land and dealings.  But not every country had the vision to provide their posterity a future of governmental non-interference by virtue of it’s design.  We didn’t have a perfect beginning, and we are far from perfect now, but the promotion of faith in the One and only true God not only allowed for personal liberty and prosperity, but also put us on track to bring the liberty of the Gospel message around the world as commissioned in Matthew 28:18-20, to go and teach all nations.  The Revolution that took place in this land to secure these God given realities was costly, men giving their entire wealth and their lives to provide us a future.

Looking back several centuries, Jesus had already set the example, purchasing our eternal freedom with His own life, [John 3:16].  America’s beginning and success was from incorporating this belief system of Jesus as the Great Liberator.  But what makes that high price of the cross of value is what we do with it.  Again, all the people of this world have every bit the right to the liberties that we enjoy here, yet have had to come to this country to find them.  For 200 years we’ve been a model, yet many nations stay dominated by forces that mandate servitude.  For 2000 years Jesus and His followers have been a model for those in the kingdom of darkness, but many refuse the light, choosing subjection to a tyrannical overlord.  So the cost of eternal freedom is not just what it took to provide it, but is either validated or spurned by an act of the will, by what we choose to do with it.

From the inception of the heavenly host and speaking worlds into existence, to the breathing of life into the first human being, God had a paradise plan for His creation.  His magnificent mind figured in every contingency, from how to deal with fallen angels, to providing a life line for humanity by way of  the cross, so even after we lost the original idea, His plan would ultimately win.  Yet, we error when we superficially quip that “God is in control,” attempting to find solace when some of life’s challenges put the pressure on.  Yes, He is in ultimate control.  His fore knowledge of our plans positions Him to be many steps ahead of our bad decisions.  However, God is not stuck in the here and now, we are.  As His Ambassadors, [II Corinthians 5:20], He relies on us, literally, to the direction of our will, trusting it will be synchronous to His.

Make no mistake, God has done all He is going to, or needs to do concerning our impact in this world.  God’s provisions in John 15:13 says,  “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,” and in Romans 5:8,  “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Then Hebrews 4:16 says,  “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  Being imprisoned in the kingdom of darkness for any length of time can certainly offer a telling comparison to Grace.  As we rotted in some cell, a guy came up to us and said, “I’m going to trade places with you, you are free to leave.”  The wise prisoners broke the sound barrier in mass exodus.  But when one looks back, there are some still sitting there.  The door is open and the guards are standing aside, yet there they sit.  Be the cell a Muslim persuasion, a Buddhist mind set, or a Believer’s doubt, the will is the gate keeper in our choosing.  Will we stay locked up, or Will we choose freedom?  God left our will inviolate.  It’s our call.

A man says, “I thank God for this car wreck that caused me to lift my hand and say, ‘I surrender.’” Ok, so the car wreck got him there, but it’s a sad day when we give the glory to the car wreck because we were so bull headed that we wouldn’t look up any other way.  2Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”  God perfects us by His Word, if we will hear it.  The thief kills, steals and destroys.

So it’s a sad day when we accredit an accident instead of the love of God, considering what it has cost God to leave our will intact, to chance that we would stay in our prison cell.  At great cost He left Adam to his own way.  Every time someone chooses their own path, it makes empty the love sacrifice called Jesus.  [Proverbs 16:25  “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”]  What a high honor we give back to God when we choose time with Him over all else.  Within the orchestra of prayer and the mysteries of the unseen battles that rage, a split second decision to be born again changes the very course of our entire life.  God breathed intercession for others reveals deceptions and unlocks prisons.  But if we choose to run a muck and, by course, reap the whirlwind,  can we at least be honest and admit that it is not God “taking” us though a wreck, but rather it is our carnal, untrained choices causing us to reap our own bad seed sown, or simply a blast from darkness taking advantage of our foolishness?  James 1:13-14 says,  “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”  To emulate Christ is an inside job, and it truly starts with blatant honesty.

What happened to God’s credibility when a multi-million dollar ministry was laid waste by a $20 prostitute?  What was the collateral damage in souls from that fiasco?  For God to control such an event, He would have to take charge and breach our will by excluding our power of choice.  If He was going to do that, why not back up to Adam, or better yet, the devil?  At the risk of chaos in the world, our future eternity, and even His own reputation, He puts the power of life and death in our tongues, the casting down or embracing carnal thoughts in our grasp, the walking in power and miracles or warming a pew for years in our control.  Paul said in 1Corinthians 2:4,  “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.”  Do we present a visual of demonstrations of love and power from the Holy Spirit so profound that those around us want the same Jesus we have?  Again, at what risk does God express His love though His free willed agents?

I don’t believe anyone would argue that God would do an infinitely better job at running the affairs of our lives and this world.  But His Divine plan includes us, risks and all.  God’s goodness is based on spiritual law, not feelings.  We simply don’t have the luxury of sowing to the flesh or basking in soured emotions, but need to set the example of speaking to our mountain in the authority we have in Jesus.  If we choose an intimate walk with Him now in the midst of all of the deceptions and temptations, He knows we want this relationship to be long term, eternally long.

Staying mindful of how and why the drama of this world plays out offers additional perspective.   2Corinthians 4:18 tells us,  “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  Every event that takes place in this temporary world of the seen has been impacted directly or indirectly by the eternal unseen.  What unseen influence sent our Founders to raise a standard of righteous intent in this land, and who now is moving on some to remove all remnants of God from our society?  The pattern is the same – we are first indoctrinated individually, then collectively as like minded gather to further the cause.  The enemy knows he can’t persuade most Christians down the same path of darkness as his own, so his swill would be more of discouragement, bombarding the masses with how bad it is, how it’s getting worse, and that there’s no hope of it getting any better.  We are the opposition via the fervent prayers and actions of righteous Saints.  This transference from the spirit world to the physical reveals that the ugly that we see can be reversed again.

Both unseen forces have followers which knowingly or ignorantly give expression to their bidding.  It’s as obvious as night and day.  Jesus said in John 9:4,  “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.”  Instruction to know our enemy is in Matthew 10:16,  “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”  Again in 2Corinthians 10:4, we are given instructions about our weaponry:  “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;).”  What strong holds or fortresses do these “not carnal” weapons pull down?  We get the answer in verse 5 that says, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”  Any mental imagery or thought presented that attempts to supersede God’s is to be actively forced back down to where it came from.

Being as wise as serpents is understanding the strength of the perverse mental and emotional guile in which the devil operates.  Over time, perversion that was once unacceptable slips in as tolerated, then embraced, then politically incorrect to oppose.  There’s the stronghold.  A system of thought that 50 years ago would have been reprehensible, but now is considered a protected right.  An indoctrination in the mind enforced by emotions becomes the new truth, the new way of life.  Edmund Burke said,  “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”  But we must “do” in wisdom.  Paul says in 1Corintians 9:26:  “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air.”

To come full circle, the relevance of striving to be the express image of Christ is not only for the eternal souls of others, but to offer a continued platform for that mission.  It’s been said that America is great because America is good, but if it ceases to be good, it will cease to be great.  If our country falters, the eternal life mission will continue down another path, but people of wise principle and foresight gave action and substance to this bigger picture, a plan that has seen expression in bringing Christ to the nations of the world.  We are kidding ourselves if we believe we can allow the godly infrastructure of our country’s dawning to unravel without personal, national and global implication.  The value of the gift of life is usually not well appreciated until one loses that precious gift, be that natural or eternal.  Unfortunately, so can the value of choice and freedom.

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