“It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?” — Galatians 5:13-15
The 4th of July happens this week in the United States. It’s the big day each year where we celebrate our country’s freedom. As a nation, we may not agree on as many things as we once did, but we do all still agree that our freedom as a nation is important. We know that freedom never comes free, and we value those who have laid down their lives so that we may live ours in freedom.
That said, you may have noticed in recent years that we don’t all actually agree about just what that freedom is supposed to look like — what it should or should not include. Nor do we agree about what it’s for — whether our freedom’s purpose is primarily to serve ourselves, or primarily to serve others who are not as free.
So for this week in which we celebrate our freedom as a nation, I want to offer some questions to spark deeper thinking about this freedom of ours—what it actually is, and what you actually want to do with it. Feel free to copy the questions below and carry them with you this week. That way you can pull them out and think on them whenever you get a few minutes here and there. If you prefer, grab a group of friends and talk through the questions together. It could make for some very interesting and insightful conversation.
Happy Independence Day!
What is it to live free? How do you describe it?
Why do you desire freedom? What’s important about it for you?
How do you know whether or not you are free? How do you measure how free or unfree you are?
What about how free or unfree we are as a nation—how do you measure that?
What are the external signs that tell you a person is truly free? What are the signs that tell you someone isn’t free at all?
What are the hallmarks of a truly free society?
What do you think—is freedom mostly the ability to do anything you want, or mostly the ability to become the person you were made to be?
How will you know when you are truly free? When will you be free enough?
What is the function of freedom? of your freedom? What’s it for? What is the purpose that your freedom longs to serve in the world?
What if all people everywhere could be free? What would that world look like? What would have to happen to make it possible?
Why are you free, while others are not? How do you explain that to yourself? How do you reconcile this disparity in your own life?
How ought you pursue greater freedom for yourself? for your nation? for other people in other nations?
What will you do with your freedom? How will you spend it?
“The function of freedom is to free someone else.” — Toni Morrison