Good Morning Church! What Does It Mean To Be Free?

While I was on the campaign trail I met a young man.
He was probably in his 20s. He was a little bit feminine in his mannerisms.
His hair was several different shades of color. He was wearing all black.

Conventional wisdom would tell me, as a conservative Republican, this young man would probably not be someone who shared my ideology.

Still, even though in my mind I was profiling him, in my heart, I knew that if I managed to be elected, I would be representing everyone in the six district, even those quite different from myself.

I truly love all people. That doesn’t mean I agree with all people, but I love them. I think that, more than anything else, is the trait that Christ wants us to have as his ambassadors.

So despite the fact, that I was pretty sure this young man would never vote for me, I still walked up to him, handed him one of my papers, and asked for his vote.

He immediately rolled his eyes and said, “Like voting matters.”

Then he did what I had done as I approached him, he profiled me.

He smirked and said, “OK you want me to vote for you? What’s your position on the LGBT community?”

He seemed shocked when I said without hesitation, “I don’t care what they do.”
His attitude changed toward me immediately and he said, “Great! Then you have my vote.”

I could have just walked away, but I knew he didn’t completely understand my answer. So I said, “I think I need to clarify something.”

I said, “I don’t think what the LGBT community does is any of my business, but I do not agree with their agenda.”

“They are free to do as they please, but so am I.”

He immediately asked me about gay marriage.

I told him, it was my opinion, that one of the biggest mistakes we ever made, was allowing government to become involved in marriage.

I explained, that the only reason Government became involved in marriage, was so they could prevent interracial marriage from occurring. They began to issue licenses to marry in 1920, so they could regulate who could marry, who.
I told him, “It seems ironic that we’re arguing over the ability to marry who we want, when the fact is, the government got involved in marriage, to prevent us from marrying who we want.”

He didn’t seem to understand what I was talking about. He became very defensive, and he said, “You should’ve stopped talking, because now you’ve lost my vote.”

I told him, I would rather lose a vote based on honesty, than gain one based on a lie.

I told him, marriage is God’s institution. It is biblical, and as a Christian, based on my faith in CHRIST, marriage is between a man and a woman. I said, “My freedom does not trump yours, nor does your’s trump mine.”

That is what freedom means.

Several years ago, in an attempt to concisely present the basic evidences for faith in GOD and in JESUS CHRIST, I wrote a pamphlet I called, The Constitution of Faith.

In my preamble, I wrote about the uniqueness of America, and how we have managed to accomplish so much, in such a short amount of time.

I wrote, that one night while reading in 1 Samuel, I noticed something I had never noticed before.
At least I had not noticed it so powerfully and so profoundly.

It was GOD’s heartache.

Think about what God said to Samuel after he had prayed to God because Israel was crying out for a king.
1 Samuel 8:7 Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day,
It hit me at that moment. All God ever wanted from His children is for them to want Him.
Just as in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve chose what Satan offered instead of what GOD promised, now the Children of Israel, GOD's chosen people, who had been promised everything if they would just choose GOD, were saying no.

Can you imagine how GOD must have felt or must feel when we really let HIM down?

Of course, HE always knows its coming.
None of us can see as God can, but we can relate to the understanding and expectation, that eventually, those we love are going to let us down.
We brace ourselves for those inevitable moments, but it still hurts.

GOD goes on to tell Samuel to give them their king, but to warn them what a king will want from them, and take from them.

Still, the Israelites said no, and with that rejection of GOD as their King, they set in motion a long and terrible journey of subjective rule.

I found myself grieving for GOD as I reread that passage and thought how HIS creation had rejected HIS guidance, HIS love, HIS protection once again, and then I began to wonder, has anyone gotten it right since?
Has any other nation allowed GOD to be their King?
Certainly Constantine, the first Christian emperor sought GOD’s guidance but he was still emperor, it was not quite the same.
I began searching for something, anything, similar, and I have found nothing.
Nothing that compares to the nation forged by our founders as they sought freedom from tyranny, looked to the gracious hand of Divine Providence, and claimed the promise made to the Children of Israel so long ago.

It occurred to me, is it possible, we were the first to make GOD our King, since that time?

Could the freedom promised to Israel be what we’ve experienced.

I believe it is, but it concerns me, that we will one day turn so completely away from GOD, that we will never find freedom again.

Ronald Reagan said it best; Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.

If you pay much attention to the news you may have heard, that the Chinese government has cracked down on Christianity.

A statement in one news report said, that in the last few months hundreds of private Christian house churches, have been shut down.
Chinese Christians interviewed by the Associated Press described gatherings that were raided, interrogations and surveillance, and one pastor said hundreds of his congregants were questioned individually about their faith.

What does it mean to be free?

Even as confused as many of us are about what freedom means, the only freedom that truly matters, is the one available to us all, no matter who rules the land.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:1

God Bless!
LaVern Vivio
August 12, 2018