Most of you under 30, you don’t understand. You don’t get that the life you live didn’t just happen- it was the product of sacrifice and discipline that others made on your behalf. What we had in America was rare in the world, very rare, and it still is. People left Europe and Asia in droves because in Europe, in Asia, everywhere in the world, everytime you turned around you had to ask someone for permission to live. They came here because in America they were free- free to worship, free to work, free to enjoy the fruits of their own labor without having to pay off some fat duke or bishop or petty warlord for the privilege of breathing their air.
The problem is, that those people are here too. They are constantly tempting you- free birth control, cheap student loans, cheap housing, universal health care- tempting you to give up your freedom for false promises. They don’t actually want to give you anything. They don’t care about you. They just want to trick you into giving them the reins, so just like in the old days they can dictate where you live, what you do, who you worship.
Isaiah’s idea of heaven was a place where they got to enjoy the fruits of their own labor without petty tyrants seizing it from them all the time- “They shall build houses and inhabit them. They shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit, They shall not plant and another eat.” (Isaiah 65:21-22) His idea of heaven was the free market, where people lived and worked and enjoyed and voluntarily shared what they earned themselves, without some petty tyrant dictating to them what they could and could not do. There is more to heaven than this, of course, much more. Yet the absence of tyrants in heaven is a major part of what makes it heaven, to Isaiah.
The great problem has never been the tyrants, the bureaucrats, the slave drivers. The great problem has always been that people did not have the moral courage to take responsibility for their own lives, to refuse to trade their own accountability before God in exchange for a mess of porridge, to give up the liberty that is the true state of mankind in exchange for the lie of the world. All through history people have clamored to go back to Egypt, to embrace slavery with security rather than freedom with risk, trusting God to see them through the wilderness. And so the liberty which America has enjoyed these many years was hard-fought, by men and women who took responsibility for themselves, ultimately accountable to nobody but God, and resisted the false promises of the enslavers of men.
God made man to be a king, to rule himself and to rule creation, and to be answerable to nobody but to God. Man threw away that inheritance in exchange for the false promise that if he submitted to the devil he would get what he wanted. In America, more than anywhere else that has ever existed, the Christian truth of freedom had reasserted itself, that man could be self-disciplined, self-ruled, a king over his own life and accountable to nobody but God.
The problem is not Barack Obama. The problem is a nation that would rather indulge their every lust in exchange for a tyrannical government that will promise to cover the cost of our self-indulgence, at the expense of our hard-fought liberty. The problem is a nation that thinks that promiscuity, drunkenness, laziness, addiction to entertainment, pleasure and luxury can be had with no cost. There is always a cost.
Jesus said, “He that sins is the slave of sin.” Only by embracing our accountability before God can we truly be free, and once we have that freedom, nobody can take it from us. We are free from the tyrants of this age. This is the truth that our founding fathers realized. This is the truth that they saw when they said, this people will be ruled by God, or by God, they’ll be ruled. And with this last election, I fear the reversion to the mean is complete, that we have once again given up our birthright for a mess of pottage, once again traded our divinely appointed kingship under God for the false promises of pleasure and joy without responsibility. The one who is promising to cover the cost of your self-indulgent life is the one who is making you their slave.
The days will come that you, under-30-year-old, will see that the costs of laziness, self-indulgence and irresponsibility will always be paid- if not now, then tomorrow. When that time comes remember that Jesus Christ has promised to set you free, and America was once the closest thing this world has ever seen to that freedom, worked out in civil society. Embrace the truth that anyone promising you security, safety and immunity from the consequences of bad choices simply wants to make you their slave. Jesus has bought you out of the slavery that is the natural state of mankind, bought you with the price of His own blood, and He has promised you freedom from the lies of Satan and the tyranny of men, so that you too can one day enjoy the fruits of your own labor, that you too can sit under your own vine and fig tree. If you are very lucky, very blessed by providence, you may get to experience a small taste of that liberty in this life, as our forefathers did. But trust in Him, and one day you will certainly have it, in this life or that which is to come. And when you come to trust in Christ and the liberty which He promises, you will never again believe the false promise of security and self-indulgence which the tyrants of this world use to trap those they would make their slaves.