“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
We love to proclaim our God-given freedoms and complain loudly if we think those freedoms have been “abridged.” We watch with great concern as the Supreme Court renders decisions on any aspect of those freedoms afforded us by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We complain about laws and regulations that restrict our rights or the rights of others and we petition the government through our elected representatives and through our personal efforts and protests when such grievances arise. However, perhaps the greatest deterrent to our living out our faith – of freely exercising our religion – is us.
It is our own complacency and our failure to “exercise” our faith by using the freedoms we share in this country. It is our own fault that we don’t use our freedom of speech to boldly proclaim the truth and hope of Christ – everyday, everywhere we go, to everyone we meet. It is our own fault that we don’t use platforms like digital media to publish our belief in the God who created the universe and yet wants to have a personal relationship with us. It is our own fault that we choose a thousand other activities to supplant the assembling of ourselves together in corporate worship. It’s our own fault. We can’t blame the government or other people who don’t share our beliefs. It’s all on us. We are not making full use of the freedoms we have as Americans to share the Gospel message of Jesus. We have used our freedom to pursue selfish and pointless goals that at best relegate God to a small part of our weekly schedule or, at worst, push Him out of our lives completely. We have squandered our freedom while ignoring the One who gave us the freedom in the first place.
So, Christian – before you moan and complain about how someone is trampling on your rights, look at your own life and see if you have been actively exercising those rights to further the cause of Christ. Have you taken advantage of your rights as an American citizen to tell others about the grace of God found in Jesus? Have you taken advantage of your rights as an American citizen to proclaim your faith in Christ through your personal actions and through your involvement with others who wish to do the same. The free exercise of religion includes the freedom of speech, of the press, and the right of the people peaceably to assemble. What a gift we have been given in the United States of America. Let us no longer use our God-given gift of freedom to trample on the very rights He has given us.