“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me…to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound…”
Thomas Jefferson was not stretching his imagination when he penned that people are endowed by their Creator with Life and Liberty. It was the mission of Jesus to reaffirm both to us all. It is because we possess these two things that we can truly pursue happiness.
However, life and liberty are not political or social constructs. They are not dependent on the decree of any government, nor can they be denied by any rule of law. I am not stretching my imagination by saying so.
In the same manner that God sends the rain on the just and the unjust, so he gives everlasting life without regard to how it is lived. It is a gift and how or whether we choose to accept and use it is up to us.
The Bible says it is appointed unto mankind once to die. Only two men have escaped that event—and, I believe, not forever. Since we are to die, why not live? The powers of sin and the earth can slay the physical body. They do not end our life. Only the one who gave it has that power.
“For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.”
The fear that has people locked away in their homes, and shunning the company of friends, family, other people did not come from God.
“God has not given us the spirit of fear but of but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
The power, love, and a sound mind are meant to enable us to live until we die and are swallowed up by immortality. They are not talents to be buried beneath masks of fear.
Our manner of life is a choice.
So too is liberty. We are not truly in chains until we are bound in our minds and our thoughts. No jailer can do this, only we have that power. People cry about oppression and slavery without realizing they are the ones standing guard at the prison door.
In the Bible, there is a little one-chapter book titled, Philemon. It is a beautiful story of life and especially of liberty. Paul is writing to Philemon to tell him that one of the man’s slaves who stole something from him and ran away is there with Paul in Rome.
The runaway, Onesimus, has somehow heard Paul’s preaching and become a Christian. Paul tells Philemon that he is sending Onesimus back to whatever fate awaits him in his master’s home. There is no diatribe on the evils of slavery, no demand for emancipation, only a word to Philemon that his one-time servant is now his brother and Paul’s assurance that Philemon will treat him well, if for no other reason than for Paul’s sake.
It was Paul’s contention, you see, that freedom was inside us—in our manner of life and thought. He wrote,
In God, we live, and move, and have our being. How we choose to do that is a matter between us and God. God will judge what we have done with life. It is the still, small voice within, that so often sounds like us, that tells us how well we are faring at any given moment. That voice is the true voice of happiness.