“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” (1 Peter 2:16, ESV)
One Sunday morning, I had the privilege of hearing Travis Osborn, the Green Beret who was the first to make contact with Navy Seal, Marcus Luttrell, during his rescue in Afghanistan, whose story was depicted in the 2013 film, “The Lone Survivor,” starring Mark Wahlberg.
As you might imagine, his story was inspiring to say the least, but I think what stood out to me the most was when he said, “It was during a firefight, with bullets flying all around me, that I had the realization that if I stayed on the path to which I was called to walk, I would be protected.”
After a few days of battling the rugged, mountainous terrain; being trapped on the side of a cliff all night during a severe thunderstorm and torrential rains; barely escaping multiple combat opportunities with the Taliban, Travis and his small squad of Green Berets reached Luttrell and brought him to safety.
As I processed this powerful testimony, I sensed in my heart, “Freedom is intentional. It isn’t cheap; it had to be acquired by force and it must be received and maintained.” With so much focus on “me” today, entitlement is, unfortunately, an all-too-common theme in our country. American history is filled with stories of sacrifice – the common denominator in the story of our free society; a concept, I fear, has largely been lost.
Sacrifice alone provided us with a Constitution and a Bill of Rights – based on an ideology which had to be taken through faith in God alone; the belief that all men and women, of all races, cultures and creeds, were created equal under Heaven and have certain unalienable rights to live, to worship, to raise our children the way we see fit, to increase and prosper in the manner we might secure for ourselves. Not everyone will own a home, but we are free to acquire a roof over our heads to the degree we are able. Not everyone will be wealthy, but we are free to acquire wealth to the degree we are able.
The basis for our freedom, however, did not just come from a group of men gathering together in Philadelphia in 1776. These men were inspired by Another; One who, nearly 1800 years earlier, made the selfless sacrifice to pay the price required to free us all from the sin which held us captive.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17, NIV). Sadly, not everyone will be saved, but we are free to acquire salvation because Jesus provided it for us, if we are willing to receive it. This salvation includes healing for our bodies and peace for our minds – all of which Jesus paid for at the Cross – but we must receive these benefits through faith and when necessary, sacrifice and combat to maintain it. Freedom is a gift, not an entitlement.
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Rob Granger and his wife, Becky, serve as Executive Pastors of Grace Church San Marcos under Senior Pastors Brian and Melissa Bauer. Located at 855 E. Barham Drive, San Marcos, Grace San Marcos meets at 10 a.m. Sundays and 7 p.m. Wednesdays with meetings for youth, children and other groups scheduled throughout the week. Visit www.gracesanmarcos.net for further information.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Times-Advocate.