Jesus promised His disciples, “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” He continued and said, “When the Son makes you free, you are free indeed.” Our Lord and Shepherd also revealed that Satan, the father of lies and a destroyer, focuses his attention on robbing God’s creation of life and freedom.
If we lose our personal freedom, the loss of national freedom will soon follow. Tragically, we are witnessing this in swift fashion. The Mayflower Compact and Declaration of Independence both made it clear that our rights and freedom come from God, not any government or earthly authority. Our nation’s founders understood that a limited government was needed to protect that freedom.
Freedom is not abandoning personal responsibility and accountability. To the contrary, liberty demands responsibility on the part of individuals, a reliable rule of law, and a system of authority enforcing legitimate and just laws and punishing violators. Those who are free honor the law with grateful hearts and remain committed to fruitfulness.
It is important that we not interpret God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply” as simply having children or even seeking to be good, consistent witnesses. That is critically important, but it is also important that we take what God has committed to our oversight and stewardship and become fruitful with everything He has entrusted to our watch care. Adam and Eve were commissioned to care for the garden. Just as farmers must care for their fields, however fertile or challenging they are, the faithful farmer must diligently seek to increase production in order to meet his own needs, those of his family, and hopefully others.
God told the farmers in the Old Testament to leave the corners of their field for the poor and the needy. That is a great lesson, though often overlooked. As important as it is to give to the poor and assist the helpless, it is equally important to encourage those in need to put forth effort to meet their own needs. The people had to come to the field and pick up what was left for them. There was effort, even work, involved.
Today’s entitlement and welfare programs often sustain people in their addictions, enable involvement in criminal gangs, and encourage idleness as people learn to simply wait for their expected check. Resentment and animosity builds toward “the rich” even though it is only because of their work that welfare even exists. Simultaneously, by allowing so much abuse of the system, those who do produce wealth often resent the welfare state even though they favor the idea of safety net for those genuinely in need. In a sense, many Americans live in the same type of bondage Israel experienced when they were taught to depend upon Pharaoh who made slaves out of the people who trusted in the wrong source.
Oftentimes national leaders and governments make wise, meaningful decisions that benefit the people. This is the way government should function. But power corrupts. That’s why we must safeguard freedom by limiting the power of the government. Our founders understood this, but today we are magnifying the federal government and we have failed to heed the wisdom of my good friend Sammy Rodriguez, “We may refer to the government as ‘Uncle Sam’, but let us not ever make the mistake of referring to it as ‘Father God!’” I fear that is the mistake many are making today, even if they don’t use such terminology.
As a result of trusting the wrong source, we are draining the resources from the people who have been dedicated to hard work, fruitfulness in the marketplace, meeting needs, creating opportunity, and enabling prosperity. When you have freedom it can be abused, but God has promised us freedom. He made us to live free. Jesus died to purchase our freedom and He lives to enable us to overcome the schemes of the deceiver and the destroyer of freedom. It is only by trusting Him that our personal and national freedom can be preserved.
Wisdom tells us that we must free the marketplace. Of course the success this freedom affords is vulnerable to greed, just as freedom is vulnerable to licentiousness and selfishness. But don’t think you can eradicate greed by eliminating freedom and the ability to be productive. History reveals even in the last 50 years when you reduce taxes and free the people, opportunity, jobs, and wealth increase and, amazingly, tax revenues increase. They always have! Regardless of which political party leads, when taxes are reduced, income for individuals and even the government increases.
But while we are seeking to help the poor, and rightly so, let’s not make the mistake of making them dependent and destroy their incentive to work and be fruitful and responsible. In our mission programs around the world, we have refused to let any foreign government oversee our goods and our works. We oversee it. We work to relieve the suffering. We stabilize their diet and health, return them to strength, and then encourage and inspire them to go to work. We maintain feeding centers inside schools in order to educate and train them.
This must happen here in the United States, Canada, and around the world or we’re going to suffer an indescribable economic collapse. I have often wondered if that’s what it will take to get the church to fall on her knees and really begin to tear down the gates of hell and bondage. We have the invitation of Christ to come together in supernatural unity and stand boldly as salt and light. If Christ’s invitation does not bring us together, then we will face a crisis that will force us to our knees. That’s not God’s best, it’s not even His will, but it’s the consequence of forsaking the true source of freedom. We must fervently pray for godly leaders to come to the table of reason and offer wisdom for the problems that we face. Most economic problems have been created by an out-of-control, overbearing federal government and bureaucratic agencies that have proven to be totally insensitive to both God and the citizens. Now it’s up to the church to speak truth to a world groping in darkness and defeated by the enemy of life and freedom.
I am filled with hope because I believe I’m going to see church leaders and national leaders stand up and begin to speak the truth in love and point the way out of the wilderness of despair, defeat, and debt. I believe we’re going to teach our citizens responsibility. The people who have been blessed by the positive effects of the free market are going to no longer leave it up to Uncle Sam or Pharaoh. Instead, they’re going to begin to ask, “How can I utilize my profits to inspire and teach job skills? How can I be better involved in the community? How can I find ways for profit-sharing on the part of the hard working employees that we have?” We’ve got to get involved in our own communities, cities, and states to properly and effectively alleviate suffering and point people to a better way to live.
Remember, it’s when people created in the image of God stop worshipping the Creator and begin to worship what He created that the tragic consequences of such foolishness lead us into total depravity. Carefully and prayerfully read Romans 1:18 through the end of the chapter. This is what we are witnessing. Only repentance, grace and a total commitment to God can halt the tidal wave of evil and its catastrophic effect. Remember what every prophet said when they called the nation and the family of faith back to God. In every instance He said He would restore their good fortune and bless them.
One of the reasons that The Prayer of Jabez excited my family and millions of readers was that they saw the deep desire of God the Father to bless His children. Many people in religious settings think God is looking down at them like some harsh policeman with a club, and they don’t see that He is more anxious to bless His children than any parents are for their own. He is far more capable of doing it appropriately. God is more anxious to bless us than we are to get into position to receive those blessings. Father, help us to have a change of mind, a change of heart, and a change of direction and we will see immediately the result of repentance – and it will be freedom!
I recommend a book by my good friend Wayne Grudem and Barry Asmus titled The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution. Robert Sirico, president of Acton Institute, says, “The Table of Contents alone provides clearer instruction than many graduate students get in economics courses.”