‘Freedom’ From What? [v137]

JULY 2010

This coming weekend is known for “independence” and “freedom” of America from British tyranny—an independence that came after great price, and something that had never been tried before. This was a government that made the people the ones that would rule the nation, endowing certain “unalienable rights” and far-reaching liberties—guaranteeing that the government would protect those rights for all its citizens. This is still unlike many millions of people that live in countries like Russia, North Korea, China, and most Arab countries. We Americans are free to dissent vigorously, while the full ‘weight’ of our government protects our right to do so.

But just before I finish discussing “national” freedom, let me ‘back up’ a bit and talk about “personal” freedoms—and what typical Americans say are some they enjoy:

– Color
– Style of dress
– Favorite food
– Work
– Car
– Location of home
– Person to marry
– Church
– Internet
– Cell phone
– _______________ [Add your own here]

A survey was done a few years ago, and they asked thousands of Americans which was their “most important personal freedom” from the list below.  Which one do you think was picked the most?:

A – To Choose One’s Work
B – Free Speech
C – To Bear Arms
D – Religion
E – Elect Government Officials
F – Right to Free Assembly
G – A Free Press
H – Due Process

It so happened that 52% of the respondents selected the main reason we have this country, “D,” the freedom to worship whichever religion you want to [That’s comforting that ‘most’ of us feel that way—but ‘only’ 52%?!].

However, aside from the “Bill of Rights” list, most in American society today think that freedom is the ‘license’ to do whatever they want, when they want. In reality, this means that many ‘flaunt’ their freedom to do drugs, drink excessively, or have sex with whomever and whenever they want. It also means that kids are ‘allowed’ to do whatever they want to do in school—to “go or not go,” “study, or not study,” “behave or not behave.” Sadly, it also has meant that adults believe they are ‘free’ to do whatever is necessary to “get ahead.” [I’m sure you can probably add a few of your own to this list].

Tragically, the things that are supposed to be evidence of their ‘freedom’ have, in reality, enslaved them—and now they have a heavy ‘ball and chain’ around their neck. Drugs and drinking lead to an addiction, a lost home, a lost job, or even a lost family. Sex anytime, anyplace, and with anyone has leads to AIDS, STD’s, unwanted pregnancies, a broken heart from being used, and the inability to really ‘trust’ the other in marriage. Kids who ‘abuse’ their freedom in school find themselves uneducated and in “dead-end” jobs the rest of their life. Adults then find themselves in ‘trouble’, owing large sums of money to ‘investors’, or in jail because they were caught. (Can anyone say “Bernie Madoff”?)

I think this is a great misunderstanding of freedom. I’d like to posit that ‘true’ freedom is the ability to DO WHAT IS RIGHT (and there are certain ‘restrictions’ in order to have true freedom). Think of it this way:

Imagine you were a train (I’d love to be a “Super Chief”). When do you think you would feel the most “free”? In the middle of a wide open field, or floating down the river? I don’t think so—I’d call that being ‘derailed’. Do you think staying on the rails would ‘limit’ your freedom? Well, only when a train is on the rails, can it work properly, run at full speed, and go to different places. It’s the same with ‘freedom’ in our lives. When we stay within the ‘boundaries’, we can really enjoy the freedom of life.

While doing the research for this issue, I came across some people that were suggesting how to quantify “personal freedom.” One that caught my eye was “The 10 Pillars of Personal Freedom” by founder of “CoachVille,” Thomas J. Leonard (often known as the “Father of Life Coaching”). He offered these:

1. Extend your boundaries in order to maximize your capacity.
2. Share your requirements so others and your environment will be able to respond appropriately.
3. Raise your standards to bring out your best.
4. Finish what is unfinished so that the past is completed and nothing is hanging on.
5. Get your personal needs met so that you are free to be fully with other people and ideas.
6. Orient around your values to create a sustainable base for goal-setting.
7. Build reserves in all areas in order to expand your capacities and minimize limits.
8. Minimize tolerations in order to absence drains.
9. Handle your money completely. Period.
10. Define success on your terms so that your benchmarks and accomplishments make sense to you and are easy to recognize.

Notice, there’s nothing in this list that says anything like, “do what you want without restrictions.” Leonard talks about “boundaries,” “standards,” “goals,” and “benchmarks.” It’s not freedom FROM something, it’s the freedom FOR SOMETHING—to be able to do things we haven’t been able to do in the past, and to be able to “freely” do things without being ‘forced’ to do so [i.e. Like the ‘freedom’ of being able to buy the car you want, with cash, rather than being ‘forced’ to make payments, on time, for the next 5 years, for a car you really don’t like, but was the best ‘deal’ at the time of purchase].

So then, how does personal freedom ‘dovetail’ into “national freedom”—specifically, the United States of America?

But first, since it is the “4th of July” weekend, let’s see how ‘up’ you are on the Declaration of Independence…

On what date was the Declaration of Independence legally binding?

A – June 28, 1776
B – July 2, 1776
C – July 4, 1776
D – July 5, 1776
E – July 8, 1776
F – July 19, 1776
G – August 2, 1776

Congress voted to approve a complete “separation” from Great Britain on July 2nd,  “adopted” the Declaration on July 4th (signed only by Hancock and Thompson), read it aloud on the steps of Independence Hall on the 8th, but it was not “engrossed” (officially inscribed) and signed by all the members until July 19th. The answer is “F.”

But, freedom wasn’t ‘instantaneous’, just because of the signing of the document—and it came with a ‘price’—that of the “Revolutionary War.” Not until September 3rd, 1783—more than 7 years later, when the U.S. and Great Britain signed a peace treaty in Paris—was freedom ‘gained’. [Revolutionary War timeline:
http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/revwartimeline.htm ].

Webster’s says that freedom is “the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action; liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another; independence; and the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous.” But the framers had a ‘larger’ idea. The first sentence of the Declaration mentions “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” So, what did the ‘framers’ really mean by this?

In America, and especially during this particular holiday, I think people would say that the most important ‘fulfillment’ of our life in this country is the ‘liberty’ and ‘independence’ afforded to every American.

The Declaration of Independence (and The Bill of Rights) speak of all people being “created equal,” and that we are endowed with certain “unalienable rights” and liberties. These documents guarantee that the government will protect those rights for all its citizens, and clearly reveal that the nation’s freedom depends largely on a strong constitution of independence.

For me, one of the best examples of “national freedom” was experienced by the black ‘race’ (ed. There’s only one “race”, the human race, people just have different amounts of melanin). Back in the early 60’s, Martin Luther King, Jr. called for racial equality and the end of discrimination by skin color in his “I Have A Dream” speech. Concluding his speech, he said:

“…And this will be the day—this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm ].

Martin Luther King, Jr. was just communicating what the Declaration of Independence proclaimed, and continues to affirm to us today—that “all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” [Note: See my Deep Thoughts (v113) for an expanded discussion of this:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/jul-08-v113/ ].

As a Baptist minister, he would also mention what the Bible had to say about freedom—that God gave us all the “freedom to choose”—to choose to be ‘free’ from the “power of sin and death,” and no longer fear that our sins would lead to eternal separation from God.

So, what did MLK mean when he used to say this? Just before I answer that, let’s see how ‘up’ you are on the Bible about freedom…

How many times was the word “freedom” used in the Bible (within both the Old and New Testaments, and using the NIV translation)?

A – 13
B – 24
C – 43
D – 67
E – 128

Well, using that particular word, “freedom,” it was mentioned 24 times (“B”)—but the ultimate ‘freedom’, “Heaven” and “eternal life,” were mentioned 726 times! Heaven is a real place, from the perspective of our five senses, and life there is described as being similar to the one we are now living, but without the effects of sin! (“freedom” from “tears, death, sorrow, and pain” [Revelation 21:4]).

However, some people have said they have experienced “heaven on earth”—have they had a ‘taste’ of what it will be like? Well, as I read the Bible, there is no description that can even come close to describing it (especially without the ‘effects’ of sin). So then, how does the “freedom from the power of sin” work here on earth?

Well, let my try to explain it this way, but using what some have called the “Christian Declaration of Independence” (Romans 8:1-4):

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”

This is essentially a ‘pardon’ from the ‘sentence’ that God has placed on being a “sinner”—death, and eternal separation from Him.

But, God is compassionate, and has given us the freedom to choose if we want to live with Him forever. He sent His son, Jesus, a sinless person, to die and be the ‘propitiation’ for all of our sins, and then to rise from the dead to give us “life”—and ‘true freedom’—FREEDOM FROM CONDEMNATION associated with our sins.

In a few days, on July 4th, we will celebrate our independence as a nation. As wonderful as that is, it does not even compare to the ‘spiritual freedom’ that is available to all of us through faith in the ‘finished work’ of Jesus. “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].

You too can be ‘free’ from the law (“Do To Be”), by putting your trust in Jesus. Consider this story to illustrate my point:

You are ice-skating in the Olympics, and are about to go up for your last performance. But, before you do, the judges inform you that you have already won the Gold Metal—you have enough points before this last skating performance to win, so you don’t have to do anything to win. How do you think you are going to skate? Are you going to hold back, be nervous or be inhibited? No way! You will probably skate your best ever performance—you will be ‘free’ to skate as never before—because you have ALREADY WON.

That’s what it’s like if you believe in Jesus for your eternal salvation—you’ve already ‘won’, the ‘victory’ is yours, YOU ARE TRULY FREE. You now are set free “from slavery to the law.” to really experience the true joy of being ‘free’ to live a life that is honoring to God, and serves one another in love!

When you put your faith in Him and allow yourself to bask in His love, you will experience freedom beyond that which words can express!

Are you ready to live your life today in light of the FREEDOM that is to come?

[Excerpts from: Opinion Research Corp.; Reverend KyungMo Koo; WallBuilders.com ]

To read a little something about what God has to say about the FREEDOM TO LOVE, then visit the following link:

[NOTE: As a follow-up on last month’s text messaging Deep Thoughts, Michigan has finally joined 27 other states to make TEXT MESSAGING ILLEGAL while operating a motor vehicle. It prohibits drivers from reading, writing, and sending texts while driving. Specifically, the law states:

“A person shall not read, manually type, or send a text message on a wireless 2-way communication device that is located in the person’s hand or in the person’s lap, including a wireless telephone used in cellular telephone service or personal communication service, while operating a motor vehicle that is moving on a highway or street in this state.”

The fine for a first violation is $100.00, and for the second or subsequent violations, $200.00 each! This is a “primary offense,” meaning a person can be pulled over and ticketed based on the text messaging offense alone. [Arielle and Tyler: Just DON’T DO IT! (Use the Bluetooth headset I got you, and just make a call)].

P.P.S. – 9,877 characters (71 tweets) and 1,983 words (1/2 of an average magazine ‘feature’ article)   ;^D



(Note: If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net)


“Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”
[Claude Frederic Bastiat]

Lift every voice and sing,
‘Til earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on ’til victory is won.

Stony the road we trod,
Bitter the chast’ning rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat,
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from the gloomy past,
‘Til now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has by Thy might
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand,
True to our God,
True to our native land.
[Poem by James Weldon Johnson—often called “The Negro National Hymn”]

Free at last, free at last,
Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last.
The very time I thought I was lost,
Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last;

My dungeon shook and my chains fell off,
Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last,
This is religion, I do know,
Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last;

For I never felt such a love before,
Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last.
[Negro Spiritual by J.W. Work]

Young people
Welcome to the… ???… heaven… ???… and ministry tonight
Won’t you please turn in your hymnals to page 333
Sister Mildred, we’re gonna play free at last
Free at last, thank God almighty

Free at last, free at last
I thank God I’m free at last
Free at last, free at last
I thank God I’m free at last

[Have you heard?]
[Listen carefully]
[I can’t stop]

(chorus 1)
Free, free, I’m free at last
Thank God Almighty I’m free at last
Free, free, I’m free at last
Thank God Almighty I’m free

(chorus 2)
Cause I’m free, free at last
And I’m free, from my past, and I’m free
Free from sin, and I’m free
And I ain’t going back again

Shackles had me down but He gave me a new sound
So reclaim my name from the lost and found
Ya see, something’s got me jumpin’
And I think it’s the way
That He can take a hard man
And turn him into soft clay
Out of the darkness, the Father has sparked this
The spirit’s alive while the flesh is a carcass
If you’re seriously curious about my past
Well I once was lost but I’m free at last!

(repeat choruses 1 and 2)
Oppression was in session and my life was the term
But when I heard about the Word I was willing to learn
About a flavor I could savor and a brighter tomorrow
Cause this could never be endeavored by a wish on a star
The Father first receives us, the Truth then frees us
Forgiven, now I’m living like a man full of Jesus
It was hell until I fell upon my knees and prayed
But now the yoke that I was totin’ has been taken away

(repeat chorus 1)
Cause I’m free, free at last, free
From my past, free from sin, and I’m free
And down on my knees when my life passed me by
And I ain’t, no I ain’t going back again

F R to the E E
L A to the S T
Out of the darkness, the Father has sparked this
The spirit’s alive while the flesh is a carcass
If you’re seriously curious about my past
Well I was once lost but I’m free at last

I’m here to tell you what he did for me and
I’m here to tell you that he set me free and
I know that He can do the same for you, too
He did it, I’m wit it, so come and get it
Be free at last!

(repeat chorus 1 x2)
When all of God’s children: black men and white men,
Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics
Will be able to join hands and
Sing in the words of the old negro spiritual…

(repeat chorus 1)
Cause I’m free, free at last, cause I’m free
I’m free, I’m free, I’m free, I’m free, I’m free
Down on my knees when my life passed me by
And I ain’t, no I ain’t going back again
Thank God I’m free

Free at last, free at last
Thank God almighty we are free at last!
[D.C. Talk-“Free At Last” album (1992)]


“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to chose one’s own way.”
[Victor Frankl]


Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with!  Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” [2 Corinthians 3: 17].



Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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