Do you imagine freedom as wilderness, free-spirited and unencumbered? Certainly you don't imagine freedom hemmed in by fences. Yet fences are necessary to protect our freedom. And don't worry -- I'm NOT talking about a wall on the Mexican border.
So what is freedom, exactly?
According to Webster, freedom is: "1. the quality or state of being free: such as. a: the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action. b: liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another: independence." Oxford has a slightly different definition: "1. The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants. ... 1.1 Absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government. ... 1.2 The power of self-determination attributed to the will; the quality of being independent of fate or necessity."
Three things stand out : 1. absence of necessity; 2. liberation; and 3. power. Freedom is POWER. And with power comes responsibility. The United States has freedom and power. To maintain that freedom, our nation endures great responsibility -- globally, politically and militarily. Individuals must also endure responsibility to maintain freedom. We must respect authority, obey laws, and ward off danger. Respecting the rules equates to fences around our freedom.
Five ways fences protect our freedom:
1. Work schedules protect us from career catastrophe.
2. Healthy diet, exercise and attitude protect us from devastating disease.
3. Living within our means protects us from financial failure.
4. Loyalty and faithfulness protect us from relationship ruin.
5. Faith in Jesus protects us from sin's consequences.
Fences aren't foolproof against circumstances beyond our control like company closures or cancer. However, NO fences guarantees disastrous results such as income loss, poor health, bankruptcy, divorce, or eternal hell. (Yeah, I said it.)
We all understand why fences make good neighbors. They protect us both from overstepping those boundaries. No negotiations are needed -- the lines are clear. When there is no fence, personal discipline is required. Likewise, the more freedom we have, the more crucial our boundaries become.
Without fences, imagine how these freedoms can result in life-altering consequences:
1. With no work schedule, start a new business venture working alone at home.
2. Without a healthy diet, work at a long term residency with an unlimited buffet.
3. Without living within one's means, visit an expensive destination with a credit card.
4. Without loyalty or faithfulness, leave on a business trip with an intriguing coworker.
5. Without faith in Jesus, live in a drug-infested atmosphere while struggling with alcohol.
As I'm now working most days from home, and the fridge is usually full, believe me, I need those fences! Let's embrace them together, and decorate our fences with ironwork and finials, garlands and gates.
1. Function -- Buy a pretty planner to organize work hours.
2. Food -- Use decorative dishes for delicious healthy dining.
3. Funds -- Carry cash in a colorful wallet and cut up the credit cards.
4. Fidelity -- Place a ring on that finger and wear it with pride.
5. Faith - Display a cross and open a Bible on the coffee table.
It's time to ENJOY our freedom, while building fences to protect it. May our freedom be liberating and our fences remain strong!
"I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences." Ephesians 4:2-3 MSG