Galatians 5:13-14 “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

II Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

As a devotional to military members during World War II, Pastor Williams Pierson Merrill wrote these powerful words (from “Strength for Service”):

“We have seen one nation after another come under despotic rule. Over against this we set our ideal of liberty. But we have been quite too ready to identify liberty with irresponsibility. It might startle us to recall how many times we have heard, ‘This is a free country,’ used to justify what no right-minded citizen should be guilty of. True democracy, can be attained neither by control nor by absence of control, but by self-control. Only those able to control themselves can be trusted safely to live without external control.”

During his inauguration address on January 20, 1961, President John F. Kennedy spoke the following:

“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it – and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”

Far too often, we clamor for our rights while neglecting our responsibilities. We demand liberty while embracing irresponsibility. We selfish ask things for ourselves rather than offering up ourselves. We seek personal gain while neglecting the collective good.

God condemns us for doing so. Instead, He directs us to use our liberty, not for an occasion to meet the needs of the craving flesh but as an opportunity to collectively flourish. We are to serve instead of demand service. We are to embrace obedience to embody liberty.

PLEASE PRAY THAT AMERICAN CHRISTIANS WOULD ELEVATE OUR RESPONSIBILITIES INSTEAD OF DEMANDING OUR RIGHTS. True liberty and true democracy can only be obtained by a society that esteems responsibility and self-control.

Picture: AP