Free Speech?

It’s not hard to see that free speech is in jeopardy. Usually, we aren’t too concerned about it when voices we don’t like are being stifled. When it’s our’s…. well that’s when we begin to squawk. There has been plenty of squawking lately.

I’ve been thinking on this. We’re concerned about infringement on our rights. Freedom of religion. Right to bear arms. Now it’s freedom of speech. I can’t deny that my sense of peace has disappeared, at least temporarily.

Should it? Or perhaps my concern is misplaced. Does God actually grant me a “right” to such things? I don’t think so. We don’t see Jesus or the Apostles marching to protect their “God-given” rights. Certainly, we see them in the streets, but it’s not to protest because their rights are being taken. They are there to proclaim the gospel.

If I’m brutally honest, what “rights” do I even have? I was purchased for a price. I have been assigned a role. I am required to do as my Father wishes. Without doubt, he sends his children into harm’s way from time to time. He doesn’t remove us from oppressive governments.

Has he made any promises? He certainly has. If we first seek the kingdom of God, he will provide us with food and clothing. In that, we shall be content (Matthew 6:33, 1 Timothy 6:8). Beyond that, I’m not so sure. Certainly, we may be asked to give up our lives for the sake of the kingdom.

John 16:1-4 “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.

Why am I so concerned about the government taking away my “rights”? Is it because it keeps me from proclaiming the gospel, or is it for selfish reasons? Certainly, the gospel is spread even in the most severe forms of restrictions and persecution. The threat of losing one’s liberty did not stop the early church.

Acts 5:41-42 41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.

The early church rejoiced in the fact that they weren’t allowed to speak of Jesus! They rejoiced that they were beaten. They rejoiced that they were forced “underground” and scattered across the nations. Indeed, God increased the church like wildfire!

Times are certainly changing. People don’t like to hear the gospel. Actually, people don’t like to hear lots of things. I’m wondering if my discomfort comes more from being persecuted because I share the gospel or simply because I have conservative views. Let’s face it, we may say “conservative” is Christian in nature, but I can be a conservative and be anything BUT a Christian. Ben Shapiro, for example, is a leading mouthpiece for Conservatives, but he is a Jew and does NOT promote that sovereignty of Jesus. Conservatives can be just as godless as any other bunch.

I’m thinking it’s time for me to disassociate myself with “Conservatism” altogether. If John the Baptist was fearless in pointing out Herod’s sin, why shouldn’t I be the same with politicians today? Both the Left and Right, Liberal and Conservative, have plenty of sin. All will face Judgement. All are in need of the Gospel.

I don’t have this issue figured out. I’m still working through it. I know one thing, I’m concerned that my concern has more to do with things of this world, where rust destroys and where thieves break in and steal (Matthew 6:20). So what if I lose my “freedoms”! They can’t take the fruit of the Spirit unless I give it up. Indeed, I can learn to rejoice in all things.

Matthew 5:10-11 10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Philippians 4:11-13 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

All this will take require a new way of thinking. I grew up being taught that the Constitution was the epitome of governance. I was taught it was a document of principles worth dying for. There is another that is even more worthy – the bible. So, I am in need of having my mind rewired. God will certainly do that, if I am willing.

Let me leave with this passage of Scripture. It has withstood the test of time – and circumstances.

Philippians 4:4-9 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

This kingdom (the United States) is being shaken by another (the Kingdom of God) – not the other way around. See Hebrews 12:18-29.

Father, I really don’t want to be among those who complain about politics. It is so, so easy to get sucked into this trap. Set me on your path, light my way, and guide me with your staff so that I might keep my focus on you and the mission you have sent me to do. Instill in me a deep, deep desire to share the gospel with a sick and dying world, one that despises you even though you are the only hope of salvation. I want to stand out and be identified as one from another kingdom, not concerning myself to the affairs of this world. And, Father, I ask that you grant repentance to the men and women who lead this nation. What a joy it would be to have them all proclaim that Jesus is Lord! Amen!

Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers

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