I love to tease my friends who are planning to get married. “Hey buddy, ya know, she gets a ring for her finger, you get one for your nose so she can lead you around. Marriage is a great institution but who wants to live in an institution?”
I say it teasingly but there’s some truth: when you get married you trade large amounts of your liberty.
The second day of my honeymoon, we were driving down the road near a blue lake and suddenly I had a thought that nearly smothered me. “It’s done. No more dating other girls. No more making “Lone Ranger” decisions without considering her. You’re married.” (If my wife is reading this, just know that the feeling passed in a few seconds and I’ve been happy about it ever since.)
I had spent a large amount of liberty but I thought the purchase was worth it.
You can stay single and keep your liberty in your pocket if you want, but you don’t get the girl. And a good one of those is worth more than gold. It gets awfully cold by yourself those long winter nights. In a marriage that works well, one plus one equals a whole lot more than two. I disbursed a lot my liberty 42 years ago and I got a companion, best friend, prayer partner, children, grandchildren, a partner in my life’s work and a warm bed in wintertime. And I know it’s not politically correct to say it, but she’s a great cook, too.
It’s the same in the world of work. I’ve talked to people who live on the street and glory in the fact that they don’t have to pay electricity bills. You can live under a bridge and not pay an electric bill or you lose some of your independence and work for a boss. Bosses aren’t always sweet, but it’s kind of nice to have a little money in your pocket when you’re hungry. You can always beg but I’d rather spend the liberty to do what I want all the time and gain some real independence.
And you don’t resent the electricity bill as much when it’s minus five degrees outside.
Some don’t want to tie themselves to a local church. They want to be free to sleep in on Sunday morning or go visit someone they haven’t seen in a couple of days. One of the best investments I’ve ever made is to expend some freedom to be involved in my church.
We see people all the time using their freedom to catch fish, collect stamps, watch television and watch television and watch television (or internet and internet), or well, you know.
Let me give you a bit of counsel. Just make sure that you shell out your liberty for something that’s worth it.
Those who are “free” to ogle pornographic pictures find themselves prisoners. They spent a whole lot more than they thought they would and received much, much less in return. They used their freedom to become slaves.
Some people spend their liberty to buy one night of pleasure or to forget their problems with a weed or a bottle. When you have no liberty left you’re a slave. “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin,” the Lord said.
There is a freedom that releases us from slavery. Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (Jn. 8, NIV) “C’mon, now David. That’s what we expect from you (I hope so). But, I don’t want to be bound by all that. I want to be free to do what I want.”
We spend our liberty every day. Just make sure that we don’t spend it for something that enchains us. A lot of free people slave away, telling themselves they are independent. And they believe it—until they try to get away.
But, when we give our liberty to the Lord, He changes our heart and we find ourselves freer than ever!
“Hey there! All who are thirsty,
come to the water!
Are you penniless?
Come anyway—buy and eat!
Come, buy your drinks, buy wine and milk.
Buy without money—everything’s free!
Why do you spend your money on junk food,
your hard-earned cash on cotton candy?
Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best,
fill yourself with only the finest.
Pay attention, come close now,
listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words.
I’m making a lasting covenant commitment with you,
the same that I made with David: sure, solid, enduring love.
(from Isaiah 55, The Message)
I love the God rejoices over us with singing. A singing God. I love that. I’ve always seen it kind of like a Dad rejoicing over his baby, even when the baby is not aware of it. Bob
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