Oohs and ahhs ring out amid pops and booms as each blast lights up the evening sky. Our eyes eagerly turn upward anticipating the next colorful explosion. Choosing our favorite firework pattern or picnic food is on the agenda for most Americans this weekend. We have the freedom to choose many things in this country. Freedom of speech and religion are just two we’ll celebrate on Independence Day. I would argue, however, the best type of freedom we have is our God-given freedom of will.
Sophomore year in college, I freely chose this topic for a final paper in bioethics class. I pontificated about the complex nature of free will for twenty pages and was so proud! Back then and still now, the topic intigues me. But looking back, I realize I didn’t have a clue to the magnificence of this gift.
When God created the world, He gave Adam & Eve freedom to choose whatever they wished. They could eat from any tree, except one. We know their choice and we all have since suffered in sin. Eve freely chose not to obey God. Adam chose to agree with her. She could have chosen virtually anything yet chose the one thing she shouldn’t! Maybe like me, you’re a bit irritated at her.
But as the thought crosses my mind I realize: I’m just like Eve.
Instead of celebrating the freedoms I do have, I tend to see only the ones I don’t. Age and experience are slowly teaching me to be more appreciative. All I have points back to Him and I see God’s hand in my life more each day. Yet often my agenda still takes center stage and my choices reflect this. Ironically, God’s gracious gift of freedom of will allows me to choose to obey Him or live all for myself.
God loves us enough to allow us to choose Him. He could have created us to automatically worship and love Him, but instead He gave us the choice. Eve and Adam made a bad choice. Sometimes, I do the same. But then I’m reminded of God’s love. Not only did He give us freedom to choose Him, but also Jesus to save us.
Our eternal freedom has been won by Jesus’ sacrifice. He died so we may live and be free with God forever. He took the punishment for Adam and Eve’s and all our sinful choices. Our faith is a gift. We can choose live in the power of this saving grace because of the freedom of will God gave us.
Dear friends, let’s not underestimate the power of this gracious gift! Our freedom to choose is originally and forever a gift from God. How wisely we choose to honor this with our lives is up to each of us. Let’s not only see what we don’t have but honor what we do.
This weekend, as we recognize the wonderful freedoms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, let’s keep going. Let’s thank God for the freedom to choose Him and to live our lives for Him. As we live for Him, we begin to experience our very purpose in this life. Now that’s truly worth celebrating!