“Freedom” has been used to justify many things. The Founding Fathers of the United States used it as the basis for severing their ties with the English monarchy and forming an independent nation in 1776. Freedom is one of the reasons why this same nation divided and fought the bloody Civil War, which led to the official demise of slavery in 1863. These were noble causes for freedom’s sake. In the past 50 years, however, freedom has been used to justify the killing of babies in their mothers’ wombs — 50 million, to be exact. This year, freedom has taken a new course, and is being applied to the legality of gay and lesbian marriage.

While we can expect the world to have a culturally tainted view of true freedom, Christians should have a Biblically balanced view. Instead, we find many Christians using freedom to justify everything from their support of unbiblical cultural trends to their own sinful, personal behavior. According to the Bible, spiritual freedom is release from the penalty and power of sin. It does not give an individual a license to do as he pleases; rather, it gives him a responsibility to serve Christ and do His will. Every issue a Christian supports, every standard by which he rules his life, every word which passes through his lips, and every action he commits should be governed by his understanding of God’s will for him. True freedom exists within these boundaries.

As you celebrate Independence Day, think about how your view of freedom affects your life. Are you using freedom as an excuse for sin, or are you using it as an incentive to do what is right? Is “freedom” the basis for your support of practices which contradict Biblical truth, or does it influence you to speak out against them? Your “Freedom Index” (the measure of your personal freedom) will be determined by your willingness to submit to God and His will for your life. Even in a free country, you get to choose how free you want to be.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.