Tuesday, June 28, 2016


The Fourth of July is at hand. It's time to celebrate our freedom, but freedom from what?
Or maybe the question is freedom for what?

I remember my teenage years when all my friends were craving the freedom of adulthood: freedom to go where we wanted, when we wanted, and especially freedom to stay up as late as we wanted. Then too there was the freedom to follow our dreams, embrace our desires, be who we wanted to be, away from our parents' rules and responsibilities. Man, we didn't know what we were thinking.

Actually, in hindsight, it sounds a whole lot like Adam and Eve in the Garden. They declared their independence from God and His rules, and just look at the world today. Humanity still follows its own dreams, embraces its own desires, shuns God's rules and responsibilities and, in the end, struggles desperately against the consequences of countless reckless decisions.

Several months ago, two men were driving through Yellowstone National Park and picked up a bison calf that was all alone. They put it in their SUV and drove it to the ranger station. They meant well, but the rangers said they had now contaminated the animal with their scent, and it would be rejected by the herd. Since it would slowly starve to death, without a mother to nurse it, they had to put it down. It really appeared like the two tourists had made a reckless decision that doomed the young calf.

But there was more to the story. Deby Dixon, a wildlife and nature photographer who frequently shoots photos in Yellowstone, had seen that calf two days before the two in the SUV stopped to help. It had already been orphaned or somehow separated from its mother. Dixon wrote, "I do not condemn the people who picked up the orphaned calf. I understand and know that they thought that they were doing the right thing. These tourists could not have known that the bison calf was an orphan and that no other female bison would adopt and care for it. They could not have known that the calf would die, as nature intended, despite their efforts."

I agree with everything she wrote except three words: "as nature intended." That is not what "nature" intended -- at least not nature's Creator. That is the curse that fell on creation when Adam and Eve declared their independence from God's command. Little did they know the bondage to sin and its addictions they would bring on themselves, and all the rest of us: their descendants. And now the creatures of the world suffer right alongside mankind from the folly of our declaration of independence from our Creator -- whether it's a bison calf, a gorilla in the Cincinnati Zoo, or our pet dogs and cats when they get cancer, epilepsy, and diabetes. Yep, it's quite a legacy we've inherited from our first parents' independence day (see Romans 8:19-21).

But wonder of wonder, God didn't just abandon us to our self-destructive declaration. He promised to send His Son to save us, and to restore that shattered creation. Like us, creation longs for that day when Jesus Christ will return and set it free. That day will be a new day of true freedom and liberty as Jesus sets all His creatures free from suffering, pain, death and a meaningless existence. At that time He will free us believers from all our trepidations, anxiety and fear, from guilt, self-doubt, and death.

No, it is not independence from God that gives us true freedom and liberty; it is the dependence of faith on God, in our Savior Jesus Christ, that frees us. It's just as Jesus said: "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).

How free do you find yourself as the Fourth of July approaches?

Stop by the Men's NetWork blog and let us know. You can do this by clicking here.

Have a happy Fourth!