The Cost of Liberty

My nine-year-old has never known a time that his nation was not involved in a major military conflict.  All he has ever known is the “Iraq War” or the “War in Afghanistan.” Though he is not knowledgeable enough to understand the dynamics of the tensions that exist with nations like North Korea and Iran, these threats have also become a regular part of our world.  In many ways, it is like living in a new Cold War.  At least the Cold War had some level of restraint to it.  The doctrine of “mutually assured destruction” kept rational people from going to extremes.  These new, rogue regimes do not seem to operate in rational ways.  One thing is certain, no one has ever accused Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong-un of being rational.

These days, more people are focused on the economy than they are on the global pot that seems ready to boil over at any minute.  While there are countless uncertainties with the economic situation in our nation, there are even greater, and more dangerous uncertainties that exist in the political landscape of our global neighborhood.  There will no doubt come a day that a new generation of sons and daughters will have to put their combat boots on the ground in a strange land to fight for the cause of freedom in our world.

Americans are no strangers to flag-draped caskets.  It is estimated that as many as 1.3 million of our sons and daughters have died in combat since the Revolutionary War.  That is the high cost of liberty.  But, as long as liberty is an American ideal, we will still fight battles to defend that great cause.  Memorial Day is a time for us to reflect on the cost of our liberty.  It is a time to give thanks for our nation and for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.

Christians must remember that battles are not only fought on physical battlefields with the incendiary devices of war.  We exist in an eternal battle that is being fought on countless fronts.  Paul said that our real “battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”  There is not much discussion about this today, but the spiritual fight in our lives is far more prevalent than the physical.

The casualties of this war are displayed, not with flag-draped caskets, but with homes broken by divorce, young men falling every time they turn on their computer, and churches riddled by the sins of their members.  When we see the sad state of the church in our nation, the empty sanctuaries of so many churches, we are reminded yet again that the battle is real, and the cost is high.

This Memorial Day, we should remember that as long as we have God-given spiritual liberty that there will be those who wish to oppose that liberty.  Paul said in Galatians 5:13, “For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.”  This is what Satan seeks to do, cause us to abuse our liberty.  His desire is that we abuse every good gift given to us by the Lord.  So the battle rages on.

We would do well to remember that the One in us is far greater than the one that we fight against.  Perhaps if we could take hold of that, the casualties would be far less and we might have more cause to celebrate our victories than grieve our defeats.  This friends, is the high cost of liberty.  But it is one fight that is truly worth it in the end.

Thankful for Freedom,

Pastor Brian

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