The Awful Weight of Freedom

Michael Beck

“Live in freedom, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.” (1 Peter 2:16)

We celebrate our freedom. The English historian, Lord Acton, had this to say about liberty. “Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right of being able to do what we ought.” He also wrote: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

The plain fact of our history, both collectively and individually, is that we are incapable of managing our freedom out from under God. Paul wrote: “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not profitable: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (1 Cor. 6:12) As he sought to discover what was profitable for mortal man to live for while on this earth, Solomon deemed all things to be lawful to him. “And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.” (Eccl. 2:10) Where did the great man’s liberty lead him? “And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.” (1 Kings 11:3)

No, even the greatest and wisest of men cannot handle absolute freedom out from under the power of God. There is no such thing as true freedom apart from Him. Let man or state give you permission to do whatever you please, and be assured, unless you are in a covenantal love relationship with the Father, wearing the easy yoke of His Son, and obedient to the leadership of His Spirit, your unfettered freedom to follow your own desires will always lead you into degrading bondage.

You may celebrate independence from man; but never celebrate independence from God. Apart from Him we are all, great and small, bad men and slaves.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.