It seems counterintuitive, but the boundaries of God’s moral law actually can contribute to our freedom. We are free to love God and others through our obedience, humility, empathy, patience, kindness, etc. We may say we want the freedom to “be ourselves,” but what we really want when we choose sin is autonomy–the same thing Adam and Eve wanted in the Garden. They wanted to disregard God’s commands and make their own choices, period.
We resist limits or boundaries because we see them as restrictive, but in truth, it is sin that restricts and limits us. When we sin, our vision narrows to self. Tim Keller explains: “Sin makes us operate on this principle: ‘Your life for me. I’m going to make you sacrifice for me, for my interests, for my self-image. You must sacrifice your needs to serve mine.’ But Jesus Christ came into the world saying, ‘My life for you. My life to serve you. My life poured out for you. I sacrifice for you.’ … Those are the two ways you can live your life, and every single day—every hour—you decide to operate on one of those principles.”
We can choose obedience just like we make “healthy” choices in other areas of life. We choose exercise to be fit and healthy; we choose to eat good foods for the same reason. We choose to protect the environment, to invest our time and resources wisely, to support causes we believe in. Obedience isn’t a drag on fun or a restriction to personal freedom–it’s a way to personal and corporate flourishing that is good for us and for those around us as well.
When our lives are lived in accordance with God’s moral law, we are in a better position to enjoy the world as he intended. We are free to pursue a relationship with God and positive, fulfilling relationships with others. We are free to focus on endeavors that encourage, bless and edify the larger community. We are also free from the kinds of things that ensnare and destroy us. And we are free for God’s glory, and for the good works he has designed for us to do. “It is for freedom that Christ set us free,” the apostle Paul wrote. “Do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
“The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.
The decrees of the LORD are firm,
and all of them are righteous.”
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Video Segment: (6:36 – 7:16) We all want to be free. Free to make our own choices. Freedom is good, but we can’t be truly free without boundaries. Having full-on individual freedom would make this world an impossible place to live in. Imagine your favorite beach… If everyone felt free to leave their trash everywhere, or burn tires, and not clean up after their dogs – it would no longer be an enjoyable sanctuary, but a depressing dump. In our hearts, we question, does God really want what is best for me? Boundaries that are rooted in love–like those given to us by the God who made us – allow for freedom to flourish as we were designed.