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

This time of year we think about freedom. We celebrate the Fourth of July as our day of Independence when we became a nation. We thank God for our freedom. That is why many of us display an American flag. It symbolizes our freedom. Freedom, however, means many things.

Let's pretend for a moment. Let's pretend that we are very small. Say about the size of a finger. And let's suppose some one put us in a box and would not let us out. We would be prisoners, wouldn't we? We would not be free.

Now I want you to imagine an invisible box--an invisible box in your mind. Did you know that some of us carry invisible prisons around in our minds? Let's use some examples. Suppose somebody told you that you were stupid and you believed them and you never tried to be smart. That would be like building a box around your brain, wouldn't it? Suppose somebody told you were clumsy. You might walk around tripping over things just because that is how you viewed yourself. Supposed somebody said you are bad. Gee, you might never try to be good.

Jesus does not want you to live in a box. What box do you need to discard?

Loving God, help me to discard the boxes the hold me back from experiencing your full freedom of love and grace. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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