As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil. (1 Peter 2:16 NRSV)

Have you ever seen a naked chicken? I haven't, but I read about once. Two poultry researchers, Ralph Somes, Jr. in Connecticut and Max Rubin in Maryland, have produced a new breed of naked chicken. Actually this strange breed was first discovered in 1953 by Ursula Abbott, a researcher at the University of California. Since then, according to the Wall Street Journal, naked chickens have been bred and studied on a wide scale. The advantage of having a naked chicken is this: none of the food intake of the chicken is processed into feathers. It all goes into meat. The naked birds actually weigh five or six percent more than their feathered friends. Moreover, because there is no fatty cushion needed to support feather follicles, there is less shrinkage during cooking. As a result, a roasted, naked bird yields about 16% more meat.

Now, if God had wanted 16% more productivity from us, He could have created us in such a way that we would have to give 16% more, automatically. God could have created us as puppets on a string or as naked chickens, so He could get from us just exactly what He wanted. But the God of the Bible, the God of Jesus Christ, did not do that. God created us and gave us freedom...and accountability. We are not naked chickens, not puppets on a string, not robots who can be programmed to always produce the same results. We are human beings. And that is what makes our lives so exciting...and dangerous; both to ourselves, and to God. God's creation of us and giving us freedom--even the freedom to reject God--is God's greatest gamble.

What will you do with your freedom?

Lord Jesus, I am thankful for the freedom you have given me, especially freedom from sin. Help me to make good use of my freedom. In your name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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