There's an obnoxious saying used only by parents and bossy colleagues that goes; "Obedience to the Law will set you free." The funny part is that we only hear this statement when we're doing stuff that we're not supposed to or when we're about to get into some serious trouble. The obnoxious thing is that this is one of those 'true' statements. Like Murphy's Law, (Anything that can go wrong will go wrong) it applies to everyone regardless of background, ethnicity, or current white blood cell count.
I've noticed a phenomenon when it comes to obedience to the law, or lack thereof. It's that when we choose to go against the commandments of God (Because we're big and bad like that) we really end up limiting ourselves and our ability to choose in the long run. Freedom from law is not true freedom. The scary part is that it doesn't all happen at once. We don't see each chain slowly being wound around us until they're pulled taught and we suddenly cannot move. Each decision we make will either limit or multiply our ability to make choices in the long run. Even when we cannot move, we may still believe that we are free or are living the 'high life' (A lovably ironic phrase if you think about it.)
Take for instance those that are into drugs. When you first start out, it's fantastic. You feel like your brain is being expanded in ways that were never before possible as your perspective is bent and twisted as the chemistry in your brain goes completely out of whack in the same way that ants go completely whack when you knock their piles over. But after those first couple of hits, the chains starts to tighten a little bit here, or another chain there. Addiction begins to govern our lives instead of our God given agency. We begin to seek for ways to sate those pangs of desire that seem as strong as the need to breathe as the chains are pulled completely taught. We destroy our lives in pursuit of something we've come to need and eventually end up in the slammer or six feet under. Either way, we're no longer agents for ourselves.
But even when we're at the very bottom and can go no further, God has given us a way out. Thanks to the sacrifice of his son, we are able to make changes in our lives for the better because when you have hit rock bottom, change is your only real option. Repentance is that key that unlocks the chains that bind us. It is through changing and becoming better that each chain is unlocked and we become free. Like binding ourselves up, repentance is not an instantaneous process, but in the end, it's alway worth the trouble. Then when we've gotten back up on our feet and are no longer bound down by the decisions of our past, Repentance becomes a way to continually stay free.
Our agency is one of the greatest gifts that God has given us as his children. I want you to take a moment and consider this: Can you imagine how painful it was for God as our father to give us such a gift as the ability to choose for ourselves? I doubt that it was a decision that he made quickly or without forethought. He knew from the beginning what we would do. The atrocities that would be committed, the futures that would be thrown away, the cursing and hate between men, etc. We're all all too familiar with the blackness that the human heart is capable of. However, in the end he gave it to us out of love because we must be agents for ourselves if we desire to be truly happy.
Can we choose to throw our lives away and curse God with a clenched fist? Yes. However, we can also choose the good things in life. The stuff that will make us happy for eternity rather than the few all too brief moments that we call mortal existence. By making an effort to choose what's good in life, our ability to enjoy life itself will grow exponentially.
Because honestly, how much easier is it to appreciate all of God's creation from the top of a mountain than from behind the bars of a jail cell?