I remember watching braveheart for the first time and hearing those resounding words in the movie. "The king may can take our life, but he can never take our Freedom!" I remember being stirred to stand up to tyranny if I ever faced it, because what is life without our freedom? no one wakes up excited to be a slave!
Then I remember 15 years ago reading Financial Peace just before getting married and how Dave Ramsey turned my life upside down. Everything I had practiced and known prior to that was seemingly in total opposite of what God wanted for me financially. I remember this all happening just before I got married and it wasn't long after I said "I do" that my wife wondered who she had married. I was on a mission to be debt free and save all I could. I loved listening to Dave to the point I could answer the callers question before Dave did because I knew what he was going to say. And Fridays were the best to hear those people call in and scream out "I'm debt free!!!!"
Then as life went on how quickly things seem to change. I never really wanted to be in debt, but I begin to pull back in my practices. I saw people use line of credits to make some quick turnover investments, so I began to do the same. Suddenly I got caught up in the money making game. And it is an alluring one I must say. But just like the bait is always a preparation for the trap, I got caught.
For several years I was able to make good little investments using my line of credit. Then it stepped up to bigger investments, Then it became all about continuing the lifestyle we had. We did not recognize it for what it was, but looking back now, it was all the allure of the American Dream that finally caught up to us and caused us so much heart ache and grief once that began to slip away. What I failed to notice was the dream was actually right in front of me.
You see, the greatest joy is not really being debt free, it is being obedient. The greatest enjoyment of life is not having the money to cover any desire I have, even if that desire is full time ministry, the greatest enjoyments come from being obedient. I have read the lives of men and seen even today the stories of the poorest people in the world, but yet their joy is unmeasurable because of Jesus! He really is all they need. They have come to enjoy the fulfillment of his promises of being obedient just to what He says! And when you are obedient, the blessings are overflowing.
You see, Israel was invited to live in Egypt as free people (Joseph the slave turned ruler and all his family was invited to enjoy the best of Egypt free of charge.) But it was not long until their lives became content which turned to complacency and when Egypt flipped the switch, they had no where to go. They were slaves to their own desires and had moved so far from following God, they had nothing else to do but become slaves. In order to keep their homes and livelihood, they were forced to do what their new master said. And this went on for hundreds of years until in their hearts the Israelites began to cry out to God for their freedom. And we are told in Scripture that God heard and we know the story.
Today, we, much like Israel have been lulled to sleep by the American Dream. We became allured to the idea of success and the money that would follow that we bought in. Little did we know that Satan was baiting us into his trap. Just like in the garden when the serpent said "Did God really say?" he asked us, "Did God really say "owe no man anything?" or did he mean anything except for a house. Then it became, anything except a house and the needed transportation. Then he added the needs of nice clothes and before you know it, you are like me and borrowing for food on the table to eat. After that, you are now a slave to making money because you owe someone for anything/everything. Then your ability to serve or give when God leads is diminished to the lowest possible amount until you are not free to give at all. Before you know it, just like the Israelites, you have now found yourselves to be a slave who at the whim of your master can have your entire life thrown into uproar!
And who suffers from all this? Those you were trying the hardest to be the best you could be. Your spouse must see less of you because you are a slave to your master. Your kids see less of you because you are a slave to your master. And although you have given your "heart" to Jesus, our American society still has your life because you are slave to your master. Marriages are ruined. Opportunities to invest in your kids are missed, all so they could have a nicer pair of jeans or play a sport for a memory, when what they want the most is you. just like that one bite in the garden enslaved us to sin, that one taste of the "Dream" has led us to sign our names and say, "Money, I am now your slave."
But I hear it more and more in my little circles, the people of God are starting to pray, "Lord set us free." I am seeing Him work in lives around me. I am hearing of his powerful hand. I have seen Him work in my own life and I am now excited as I see him on the move. Gods people, His chosen people, are crying out with deep groans from their current state of slavery and God is starting the work to set them free. And much like Israel, they will have to leave all they know behind to follow Him into the great unknown, and I am sure there will be growing pains along the way, however, I know God desires to set his people free, He has proven it time and again, no more so than when he sent jesus to redeem our souls. But He not only wants us to be free for eternity, he desires for us to live in His freedom today.
I believe He is hearing our cry and He is shouting, "Look to me my dear child for I am her and I long to give you your FREEDOM!"