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It seems that everybody is talking about defending our freedom...
We need to remember the definition of freedom. Most people are focusing on the ability to pursue and maintain a life of health, prosperity and happiness, along with the ability to do what we want to do.
However, God does not define freedom this way. Rather than defining it as the ability to live the way we WANT to live, and do what we WANT to do, God defines it as the ability to live the way we OUGHT to live, and do what we OUGHT to do. It is the ability to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind - all 7 days of the week - and the ability to love our neighbors - INCLUDING OUR ENEMIES - as ourselves. This includes the ability to consider others as more important than ourselves. [John 8:31-32; Matthew 22:37-40; Matthew 5:43-48; etc.]
Read what Jesus says, concerning what it means to be one of his disciples - to be one of his followers. [Look up the word in a Bible concordance, or just begin with the book of Matthew.] Those who have a greater focus on themselves and their personal comfort and prosperity are NOT his disciples - even though they may be faithfully religious, and may even belong to "Bible believing churches."
The freedom God offers transcends personal circumstances and comfort. As for the health, prosperity and happiness, that most people are pursuing, God does not guarantee any of it to us. In fact, God guarantees that the opposite will happen, for those who are REALLY willing to put him first in their lives. Those who will someday share in Jesus' glory WILL suffer, in one way or other... Those who DON'T put God first will make sure it happens. [Read 1 Peter. Also Acts 14:22. And don't forget verses such as John 16:2: throughout the history of the church, religious "churchgoers" have been among the most zealous, in making sure that the suffering will occur.]
You may say that you already know all this. That's quite good, if you are making the appropriate response. Even the apostles repeated things that their listeners already knew - 2 Peter 1:12.
There are many calls to repentance... we just need to make sure we are repenting of the things that God wants us to repent of - not merely the surface issues. Otherwise, we will be no better than the people of Ezekiel's day, who LOVED to hear Ezekiel's exhortation for them to repent. God told him...
So they come pretending to be sincere and sit before you listening. But they have no intention of doing what I tell them. They express love with their mouths, but their hearts seek only after money. You are very entertaining to them, like someone who sings love songs with a beautiful voice or plays fine music on an instrument. They hear what you say, but they don't do it! (Ezekiel 33:31-32)
Dennis Hinks © 2001
Scripture quoted from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996.
Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.