Pastor Ed Young wrote of a time when he would take his two sons around to different parks to look for pick-up basketball games. One day they settled in to play a half-court game while another game was being played on the other half court. As Pastor Young watched, the difference in the two games was astoundingly clear: In one, there were no rules, and it was a free for all. In the other, a clear set of rules was being followed, and boy, did he see some great ball being played. The players clearly knew what they could and could not do, and some were even calling fouls on themselves. The rules set them free to shine with some amazing b-ball skills. On the other half court, no rules created mayhem. In volleyball terms, we call that “jungle ball.”
The same applies to the road: If drivers aren’t following the rules, accidents happen. If you drive the wrong way on a one-way street, you’re going to crash into someone sooner or later. If you don’t stay on your side of the white line, again, an accident is likely to occur. There is only freedom to get where you’re going safely if everyone abides by the rules.
Yes, we want freedom, but that comes with a responsibility to be aware of those around us and to live by, yes, rules. Galatians 5:13 says, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
We’re so big into “rights” in America. But really, so much of what we call “rights” is really “privileges.” If we put other people before ourselves in every circumstance, then we are truly practicing freedom; the freedom to love people the way Jesus called us to love. And boy, will we see some life being lived.
John 8:36 reminds us, “So if the Son has set you free, you are free indeed.” Because He set me free, I am His bondslave, bound to do what He wants me to do, and that is to not put myself before others.
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