Freedom Is A Paradox

Here in the United States no other holiday causes us to reflect on FREEDOM more so than the 4th of July.  What follows are two definitions from the Encarta Dictionary for the word FREEDOM. Read them carefully. These definitions have vastly different implications.

  1. release or rescue from being physically bound, or from being confined, enslaved, captured, or imprisoned
  2. a state in which somebody is able to act and live as he or she chooses, without being subject to any undue restraints or restrictions

As a Christian, which of these two definitions do you think is correct?  Please read more…

It seems to me that our modern culture has adopted the later of the two definitions above to describe what it sees as freedom. Our culture tells us that freedom comes from the unrestrained ability to do whatever we want to do. Interestingly enough, this is exactly the opposite of Biblical Freedom. Definition number one above more closely aligns with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

The Christian understanding of freedom presents a paradox. The Bible tells us that in order to gain one’s life we must be willing to lose it. We are told that in order to be free we must die to our own desires. God gave us free will. This free will should act as the compass that points our entire life back towards our creator.

Paul points out in Romans 7:21-25 one of the great paradoxes of life. The more we use our free will to seek freedom that is opposed to the will of God, the less freedom we actually experience. In fact, if we choose to pursue our own will, we will become more enslaved and captive to the law of sin that lives within us. Thankfully Paul does not leave us to despair. He gives us the solution when he states: “Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

In our earthly existence we are inclined to remain captive and enslaved to our sinfulness and our rebellion against God’s laws. As Paul states it is only through Jesus Christ that we can hope to find freedom.  In Galatians 5:13 Paul writes: “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

Because this is a holiday week for most Americans and a week of travel and vacations, I will keep today’s message short.

Take a quick look at what John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail as it pertained to the future celebrations of this historic day. He wrote this the day after Congress voted to declare independence: “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

For us then to grow spiritually, we must bring our lives into complete conformity to the will of God. John Adams suggested above that American Independence Day should be celebrated with many types of festivities and fireworks but also celebrated with Acts of Devotion to God. On a day dedicated to freedom, I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate than to rededicate our lives to following God’s will and abandoning our own. Freedom is God’s gift to man, but the paradox remains. In order to experience His gift of freedom, we must be willing to submit ourselves to living by His precepts, NOT OURS!  When we do, true freedom will be ours!

Heavenly Father, I thank you for the gift of my free will. Help me always to choose a course in life that is pleasing to you. I want to experience the TRUE FREEDOM available through following your Son Jesus the Christ, amen.

As always, I love to read your comments below as well as hear from you personally by clicking here.


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 Pilgrimage to the Holy Land with Broken Door Ministries and Brian Pusateri

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$3,499; 11 Days – Airfare Included from Anywhere in the US Dates: February 18-28, 2019
Jerusalem • Bethlehem • Nazareth • Galilee • Via Crucis • Last Supper • Gethsemane • Dormition • Nativity Church • Capernaum • Tel Aviv

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Brian Pusateri

Brian Pusateri

Brian is a Christian author and speaker. Brian, a lifelong Catholic, felt his life was forever changed when God spoke to his heart while attending an eight day silent Christian retreat in November of 2011. Soon after that retreat Brian founded 4th Day Letters and Broken Door Ministries. With the God inspired message of mercy and unconditional love that was placed on his heart during that retreat, Brian has been impacting others all over the country and around the world with his weekly letters, his talks, and his all day Christian retreats. Brian’s life was again impacted in a very dramatic way when his eyesight suddenly became permanently impaired due to a diagnosis of Multiple Scleroses (MS) in June of 2014. This health challenge has only served to draw Brian closer to God and bolster the importance of this timely yet ageless message.
Brian Pusateri

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12 Comments

  1. Flor on July 4, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    I was deeply disappointed that you did not mention all the immigrants in limbo being housed in detention centers. I kept reading on and on expecting you to say something- but alas. Is it too controversial for your audience? 800 people are being held near this GA home of mine and people talk poorly of them wherever I traveled this month – AZ, GA, FL but not SoCal, (where everyone seems to speak Spanish and be proud of their heritage). Isn’t freedom a responsibility to ensure that others share in God’s graces?

    • Brian Pusateri Brian Pusateri on July 5, 2018 at 6:39 am

      Flor

      Thank you for your thought provoking post. I would like to address a few things. Please keep in mind that my weekly writings are read all around the world, not just in the United States, and they are read by Christians of many different denominations and beliefs. I used the 4th of July solely as the spring board to make the spiritual point about freedom from sin. All people world wide are in bondage to their sinful nature, and as important as human freedoms are, I was trying to remain focused on spiritual freedom. Next, my disclaimer at the bottom of each week’s message says that I will try to touch on topics that don’t divide us as Christians. The immigration topic deserves much conversation and it is receiving that conversation in many places. I just felt the 4th Day Letter was not the best place. Finally I do give readers the chance to share their views here and am delighted you chose to do exactly that.

      Thanks for sharing your point of view. May God bless you.

      Brian

  2. Lemoine on July 4, 2018 at 8:04 am

    As flawed as the USA has been and still is, the Republic is still a beacon to those wanting to escape to our type of FREEDOM. Your commentary is a keeper, it will be shared!
    Thank you young Brian for filling in for your Dad.

  3. Bill Hartley on July 4, 2018 at 7:39 am

    Awesome, Brian! Adams is one of my heroes in US History…God Bless America and God Bless You and your family.

  4. Virgil Lasaga on July 3, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    Brian, great reflection. If you read the writings of Founders of the US (yes, even the Deist ones), you come away the distinct impression that their idea of freedom is based on the Christian idea of freedom which is the ability to follow God (as you touched on in today’s reading) without the state dictating to the people on how to worship Him. Many of our early leaders warned the populace about the necessity of morality for our system of government to flourish (Washington’s Farewell Address being the most notable) and warned of dire consequences should they forget their obligations to God. They were all familiar with both the Bible and classical literature and used them as cornerstones to establish our system of government. This is not to say that they were all virtuous men but they aspired to the virtues in both Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman philosophy and left us a nation that we had the freedom to do so as well.

    Unfortunately, we in the 21st century have been unmoored from those founding ideas and principles. Ignorant of our history, we as a society have come to believe that the second definition of freedom you listed; rights without the requisite responsibilities, and the idea that exercising freedom somehow frees us from the consequences of its exercise.

    We have a lot of work to do to evangelize our nation. Our Liberty depends on it.

    Happy Independence Day, Brian!

  5. Ken Tamsin on July 3, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    Brian, wishing you the best of a trip to the Holy Land and the Freedom to experience all it has to offer.

    • Brian Pusateri Brian Pusateri on July 3, 2018 at 12:54 pm

      Ken

      Thank you for writing. At this time the sign up for the Holy Land trip has been very low. If we don’t see an increase in sign up soon, sadly the trip will need to be canceled. Say a prayer for God’s will.

      Brian

  6. James Meersman on July 3, 2018 at 6:48 am

    Very approiate for this week. You do such a great job. Thank You!

    • Brian Pusateri Brian Pusateri on July 3, 2018 at 7:53 am

      Jim

      THANKS! Have a blessed 4th of July my friend!

      Brian

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