Larry Buford (Courtesy photo)

We hear a lot about freedom, rights, and liberty these days. People squawk about the right to choose, whether it be about gun ownership, sexual orientation, abortion, Democrat, Republican – you name it! – It all comes down to choice.

God so loved us that He gave us free will. He created us in His image that He may have a relationship with us. It would not be much of a relationship if He created us to be robotic. He wants to know that our relationship with Him is voluntarily out of love and faith.

When we read about the fruit of the Spirit as described in Galatians 5:23-24 – “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” – it all begins with love.

The other actions cannot exist without the action of love. You might say that love is the vine that the fruit hangs from. It is the lifeline. John 3:16 reads “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Jesus is the “Branch” of righteousness. Our whole existence hangs on God’s love. What should our response be to that?

Free will, like love, is an agent to choose between different possibilities of action. So, if we think about free will as a vine, what hangs on it?

How about discipline, responsibility, morality, respect, honor, justice, obedience, fairness, service, trustworthy, duty, character, integrity, and other social aspects? We can also add our own personal desires, habits and vices that we conscientiously choose or choose not.

Whatever the choice, there are consequences for the better or for the worse, that affect us personally, or those around us. Think about it! Many of us love the freedom that comes with free will and the power of choice, but sometimes we don’t want to own the ramifications that come with it.

1 Corinthians 10:23 [NIV] reads: “I have the right to do anything,” you say — but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.

There is no free lunch. Freedom and liberty come with a cost. If we learn to love ourselves as God loves us, then we’ll have the power and ability to make right choices when it comes to love and free will.

The Bible says, love God and love one another as we love ourselves. Do unto others as you would have done unto you.

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based contributor. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” and “Book To The Future” (Amazon). Email [email protected]