AFReG Devotional—4 July 2023

God and His Creation; God’s Plan at the Beginning

In the United States, we celebrate our Independence Day on July 4th every year to recognize our nation’s freedom and establishment as a sovereign nation on the world’s stage. Even though, as members of the African Diaspora, we did not experience the freedoms this country aspired to in its founding documents, all are called and invited to experience and celebrate God’s planned freedom. As we look at “God’s plan at the beginning,” it is important for each of us to reflect on God’s plan and truths for what He divinely envisioned as a necessity for human flourishing…freedom and liberty. 

When one hears about freedom, it’s an unfortunate reality that this world has mistaken God’s intended liberty and freedom with license to do as one pleases.

God’s plan at the beginning and throughout the Scriptures is that freedom and liberty were to be inexorably tied to human flourishing in our right relationship with God, not in human independence from God.

Just a few short chapters into the Bible, we find humanity, through Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God, exercised their God-gifted freedom by rejecting God’s plans for their continued flourishing in the garden.

That rejection led to mankind’s separation from God and our exchange for God-ordained liberty and freedom with slavery to sin and the horrible spiritual and physical results that followed.

The biblical record is clear that God’s plan from the beginning was that human flourishing would occur only as our freedoms were exercised as aligned with God’s perfect will for us as we are rightly related to Him. The entirety of God’sWord declares that freedom and human flourishing begin and end with a relationship with the Lord…with an ongoing relationship with His Christ. Through Christ and Him alone, the bonds of slavery can be broken, and we each experience the true freedom God planned, now and forever.

Here are some AFReG 4th of July insights we pray will inform and encourage your exercise of our freedom in Christ.

  1. For our freedom to flourish, we must be continually connected to the source of all freedom…the Lord Himself. “But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the LORD’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.” (Psalm 92:12-14, NLT)
  2. God’s answer for the freedom we seek is found in the person of Christ, our Savior, and deliverer. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19, NIV)
  3. Our freedom is best expressed in our love for the Lord and love for His people. “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

The freedom God initially planned was never about doing whatever we wanted. No, He has something better for us.

His plan for us is that our freedom, and ultimately our flourishing, will occur as we cultivate God’s desires for us in our souls and align those same souls in obedience to His will for us.

Our 4th of July desire and prayers, as your AFReG community, is that you each will experience His flourishing freedom in His abiding presence and the abounding love of His Son, Christ Jesus!

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