Eighteen of us sat around the circular table in the conference room of the Military Academy located in Gori. For several hours we met with different deputies from the Ministry of Defense and listened as they shared the challenges of living within field artillery range of Russian guns. Their fear of angering their neighbor and again losing their freedom is fueled by Russia’s occupation in 2008 of Abkhazia and South Ossetia—two secessionist territories within Georgia.
Georgia was first unified as a kingdom under the Bagrationi dynasty in the 9th to 10th century. In 1243 her land was conquered by Mongol invasions. Hundreds of years later she suffered domination by the Ottoman Empire. Then she was annexed by the Russian Empire in 1801. The Democratic Republic of Georgia sought to be independent from 1918–1921 but eventually the Soviet Union enveloped her forcing her people to live under communism. It was not until 1991 that she became a free nation.
Georgians understand that should they be attacked, they cannot resist their northern neighbor’s overwhelming military superiority without help. They are working hard to eliminate anything that might weaken their independence. Frustrated by the corruption within the police force, President Mikheil Saakashvili’s government fired all 1700 of them. Courageously, he and his team of leaders shut down the mafia, and eliminated a culture of bribery—restoring law and order to the land. They are not lackadaisical about their situation or timid in taking action. Their appreciation for freedom and resolve to establish a safe nation was a great reminder to our U.S. team of the preciousness of our independence. Yet, too often our political freedom and our spiritual freedom are taken for granted.
Galatians 5:1—Christ has liberated us into freedom. Therefore stand firm and don't submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Perhaps it is a good to go back in history and recall that when Jesus rose from the grave He did not just conquer death, He also provided a path to freedom. He liberated us from legalism, from tyranny, and the consequences of our own sin. But never was it His intent that His costly death would permit us to be complacent. He called us to a freedom that demands self-denial. He called us to a freedom that is sacrificial. He called us to be ambassadors of this freedom not tenants of self-centeredness. We are responsible for sharing the hope that we have with any who are trapped in hopelessness.
We may not dwell under the shadow of a power that can strip away our ability to live as we choose but always we live under the shadow of the lord of darkness. He encourages rebellion from God and his rage to destroy mankind runs unabated. Perhaps we need to wake up and remember who it is that opposes us and how important it is to stand firm and proclaim truth. The toll road to slavery begins through the gate of apathy.
A satisfied man does not know another one is hungry.—Kenyan Proverb
©2011 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)