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The pilot show for the television series Outsourced begins with Todd, an American from the Midwest. His job has been outsourced to India. He works for a novelties company that sells such wonderful items as fake dog poop, vomit and singing deer heads.

Todd is trying to coach his new employees on how to sell such things as Green Bay Packer’s cheese heads and Christmas belt buckles with mistletoe attached. His confused employees question why anyone in America would buy such unnecessary and inappropriate items. While displaying a pair of fake mounted breasts that jingle a Christmas tune, Todd responds, “In America you can do whatever you want… Maybe no one needs this, but in America no one can stop you from making it. This is the definition of freedom.”

Today, July 4th, Americans everywhere will celebrate their freedom with barbeque, fireworks and family get-togethers. But what kind of freedom are we celebrating? The kind that is defined by Todd’s jingling, suggestive novelties?

I hope not.

Don’t get me wrong – I think political and personal freedom is a very valuable, precious gift – one that is worth dying for. But too often I get “freedom” mixed up with the notion of “being able to do whatever I want”. Which, I think, is a very Western definition of freedom.

My first allegiance is not the flag of America, but to the standard of my faith. The freedom found in Scripture is not a loud, “I do what I want” type of freedom. It’s a freedom that means I’m set free from a master who forced me to serve evil. It’s a freedom that sets me free to serve what is good.

My freedom of speech is not a freedom to bash, degrade and bully others. It’s a freedom to build others up, to confront in love, to say only what is beneficial to my hearers.

My freedom of religion is not a freedom to thrust my beliefs down another’s throat and loudly declare my disgust for anyone who doesn’t believe as I do. It’s a freedom to follow my leader Jesus, serving and teaching as He did.

My freedom of the press is not a freedom to slander others and print half-truths to serve my own viewpoint. It’s a freedom to write to cause others to meditate on what is good, pure and true.

My freedom to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is not a freedom to self-centeredly pour my resources into selfish pursuits. It is the freedom to die to myself, surrender my rights and pursue the happiness of others.

Because that is where I find true freedom. The kind that’s worth celebrating.

But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. Romans 7:6

I asked for your thoughts on freedom a few weeks ago on this post.