Jim Graff is the senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria.

I heard a story about a company owner and one of his employees, John. One day, John was out working, when the owner went to check on his crew. He overheard John muttering, “Oh, Adam. Oh, Adam,” as he swung his axe.

The owner asked, “Excuse me, why are you saying that?”

John responded, “Because Adam is the one who made us have to live by the sweat of our brow. He’s the reason we have to work so hard.”

The owner chuckled and watched him more.

“He really does work hard. I should reward him,” he thought to himself.

So one day, he was going out of town for two weeks and invited John to stay at his house. He told him he could have free reign of the place. He could eat anything in his fridge, swim in his pool, drive his convertible. Whatever he wanted. He only gave him one condition – to not open a box in the laundry room. Easy enough, right?

Apparently not. Eventually, John got curious and opened the box. When he did, a huge snake slithered out of the box and ran wild throughout the house. When the boss came home, he wasn’t happy with John.

A few weeks later when went to check on the crew, he heard something else being muttered in the distance. Sure enough, “Oh Adam,” had turned into “Oh, John.”

The truth is we all deal with keeping our flesh under control. It might have started with Adam, but it doesn’t end there. The problem is that we all want “freedom,” but we don’t seem to understand what true “freedom” actually is. Freedom isn’t doing what we want to do. It’s doing what we ought to do to live blessed.

Romans 5:17 says, “For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.”

You know what that means? That we can reign instead of living with regrets in our lives. How? First, we must believe in the grace of Jesus. Then, we must receive the gift of His instruction.

There are five keys to living in this covenant with God. First, we’re to honor God’s transcendence – to realize His thoughts and ways are much better than ours. Then we’re to honor his chain of command – the authority He has placed in our lives here on earth.

Next, we’re to honor his code of ethics, understanding that His ways truly work. Fourth, we’re to experience the consequence for what we choose. And finally, if we choose right, we reach the point that beautiful legacy is created by our lives.

Are you living in true freedom today? As we prepare to celebrate our freedom as a nation, I encourage you to celebrate the freedom Christ has given as well. In Him, we are truly free.

Jim Graff is the senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria. Visit myffc.com.

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