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God or Government? We Cannot Serve Two Saviors

soviet-badgeThis morning a friend forwarded a poignant reminder that God has graciously provided each of us the breath in our nostrils, the ground beneath our feet and the sun to warm our planet. In light of such provision, the author argued, how is it possible that we still feel neglected and in constant need, rather desire, for more? We all are like the children of Israel, who, in the deserts of Sinai complained against the One who gave them breakfast every morning, brought forth water from a rock and protected them against their enemies. Despite all these wondrous signs, still the people grumbled and complained. Don’t we do the same? I believe this phenomenon is directly related to our view of God.

It seems that the further we are from the God who provides, the more we lose sight of what He has given. I’m a personal example of this simple truth. Though I have been blessed in so many ways, I focus on what I don’t have as opposed to giving thanks for what I do have. The secret of American success has always been the belief of her people that we are entitled to nothing, but free to pursue greatness. Think about it: the first folks to colonize this country came seeking religious and economic freedom. They knew the challenges they faced, and they understood the risks they were taking. As a result, each harvest was cause to celebrate, and each success something significant. Even the Revolutionary generation had reason for thanksgiving, as a group of ragtag soldiers conquered the then-most powerful army on Earth. The stunning victory of America over Britain was no less stunning than Joshua over Jericho.

So what has happened? Why has America turned into the land of the freebies instead of the land of the free? I believe it’s because we rejected God as our lawgiver, and set up the state as our savior. Our government has promised us prosperity, a life free of challenges and a free ride to whatever station in life we desire. The government has sought to reverse the curse inflicted on the Earth in the aftermath of Adam and Eve; it has sought to banish hardship and remove the thorns from the ground. This futile effort by statists and socialists is foolish and foolhardy. Just because the communists wanted to create a worker’s paradise and a collectivist utopia doesn’t mean that the curse is lifted. Man still eats of the ground by the sweat of his brow. As a result, someone pays for everything…there is no such thing as a free lunch.

For someone to eat without working means someone else works harder to buy their meal. This sort of system destroys the incentive for producers to produce, and entices an entire culture to give up the pursuit of success and security on their own. Now, the government is the grantor of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as opposed to God. We continue to bite of the apple, believing that God is holding out on us, and that our human institutions are capable of rebuilding a paradise lost. Government may promise paradise, but they ultimately build for us a prison. Don’t believe me? Look around you. Now that the government is responsible for healthcare, we are told what to eat. Now that government is controls commercial production, we are told what to produce (think of GM and the pressure to produce “green” cars). Government is a terrible parent and a ferocious master.

We, the people, must start providing for ourselves and our families. During years of plenty, we must save our resources for the scarcity to come, lest we beg before Pharaoh for a crust of bread. Though he may give us enough to sustain us, he will give at the cost of our independence. Americans have never preferred freebies over freedom, and we must not do so now. The fate of our free republic rests on the character of our people. Let us resolve to be blown away by the sunrise, thankful for the water that cools our throats and blessed to have the breath of life God gave us. If we treat every moment as a miracle, and the government as a protector of rights, not the grantor, we will find that freedom will flourish in America again. Faith leads to freedom, for God has freely given us life, liberty and the opportunity to pursue happiness. Government must never stand in the way of that great pursuit.

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