The One Question that Determines Your Freedom or Bondage

by Andy Wood on August 13, 2008

in Five LV Laws,Life Currency,Money,Principle of Freedom

So how’d the reaping go yesterday?  How many times did you find yourself “serving” or servicing a decision you had made days, weeks or months earlier?  OR, how many times did you find yourself being served by the good consequences of a decision?

I just got an email about yet another family that has been ripped apart because of a series of addictive choices by a husband/father.  That makes five I’ve dealt with the last couple of weeks.  The hopeful news is, this man’s past does not dictate his future.  But it certainly has determined his present.

Meanwhile, in “Finantasy Land,” you don’t hear much talk about financial freedom these days.  Other than economic politics, about the only thing you hear is, “Hey, good news!  They’re having a sale at the gas station.  Unleaded is down to $3.56 a gallon!”  But I digress….

Wouldn’t it be good to know that you could simply, decisively establish a course that will add value to your future, either here, there, or in the air?  What if there was a way to cut through the clutter and confusion, the knee-jerk pleasure seeking and sidewalk philosophy, and find a True North – a pathway that actually leads to a future of freedom?

There may be.

In less urgent moments, financial planners talk about a principle that’s fairly easy to understand.  Financial freedom means that we put part of our income to work for a season while we’re still able to work to earn it.  By investing enough money, with enough time, and an appropriate rate of return, the day ultimately comes when instead of working for money, the money works for us.  It’s a wonderful concept and it works, if we work it.

This idea isn’t limited to dollars and cents.  LifeVesting presents a broader law – the Principle of Freedom. It states:  I will be served by the people and things I invest in and serve.

The Principle of Freedom applies to my personal and business relationships.  It applies to wisdom and worship, work and warfare.  I give today in order to receive when I have little else to give.  I serve today, so that when I need it most, others will gladly serve my needs.  In the natural, that means retirement or redirection.

Every day, through the choices we make, we’re choosing freedom or bondage.  Choose well, live well.  Choose poorly, and you’ll serve the consequences of those choices.

Moses understood that.  Just before his death, he called an assembly of Israelis and reframed all the things that God had taught him.  We call his little talk, “Deuteronomy.”  Here’s what Moses had to say as he was wrapping things up:

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live  and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).

There’s one example of that fork-in-the-road question:  Am I choosing life or death? A friend of mine has started using this to frame his everyday decisions – what he eats, his business decisions, his family relationships.  It’s serving as a great guiding principle for him, and adding quality and long-term value to his choices.

Jesus offered another way to frame your choices.  “Take care!” he said. “Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired, for then you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:1, LB).  Based on that, you could ask, When and where do I want the benefits of this choice? Here or there?  Today or eternity?  My glory or God’s?  My pleasure or His?

I will be served by the people and things I invest in and serve.  But what if I spend my life serving only myself?  What if I live only for pleasure, consume all my resources on the moment at hand, or invest in the praise of other people?  Well then, to quote those haunting words from Jesus, “You have your reward” (Matthew 6:2).  The day will come when your “self” can’t return the favour, your pleasure is spent, the moment is past, and the praise of others is only a distant memory.

In the context of LifeVesting, here’s the diagnostic question:  In the future, will I serve this decision, or will it serve me?

I’m pausing a minute here while you let that sink in.

Some choices make you serve them later.  They leave you enslaved to the consequences, or addicted to the choice itself.  Other choices serve you instead.  They create possibilities that free you to fulfill your potential.  And anyone – even someone after God’s heart – is capable of choosing death or life.

Israel’s King David made a series of impulsive decisions, and he served those decisions for the rest of his life.  But that doesn’t tell the complete story.  From his earliest years, he had made choices that ended up serving him.  Choices regarding excellence, courage, principle, discretion, appearance, and worship ultimately led to his being hired as a giant killer!  Choices to stand and fight when the entire army of Israel turned and ran later served him as he gathered around him one of the most elite fighting forces in the history of warfare.  Choices not to retaliate when Saul or Absalom tried to kill him led to the testimony from God himself that this was “a man after his own heart.”

All of this is reminiscent of the famous “law of the harvest” – you reap what you sow, more than you sow, later than you sow.

Let’s face it – none of us has a reaping problem. The only thing that remains is whether we’re sowing to the wind or to the Spirit.  Your decisions, ever-so-miniscule today, took aim at life or the whirlwind somewhere down the road.

Live free tomorrow?  Choose free today.

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