Pastor's Column - March 19, 2014

Freedom carries with it responsibility

James 1:25 states "whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." We usually think that rules oppress us, so it's interesting for God to tell us that His laws bring us liberty!
It is easy for us to realize why: we must be governed by something. It has rightly been said that if we cannot restrain ourselves according to God's 10 Commandments, we will have to be oppressed by man's 10,000 commandments. At the beginning of this year, many news agencies reported that 40,000 new laws were taking effect across the United States. Why do we have so many laws placed upon us in "the land of the free"? Perhaps the reason is because we have failed to govern ourselves by God's perfect law of liberty.
As Americans and as Christians, we must realize that every freedom and every liberty carries a corresponding responsibility. We would be wise to remember the words of our second President, John Adams: "If ‘Thou shalt not covet,' and ‘Thou shalt not steal,' were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free."
True freedom is found only in Christ. And to experience true freedom we must allow Christ to rule our lives. Adams also summed up this thought well, when he explained "our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." The choice is ours: God's 10 or man's 10,000. Freedom or slavery.
Rev. Ashley Howell is the pastor of Hilda Southern Methodist Church.