Saturday, December 07, 2013

Freedom That Matters Requires Discipline

Most believe that freedom is the ability to live life unbridled when in fact a freedom that matters requires discipline. I am certain that wanton excess would be perceived as the goal of freedom by many today. A life spent pursuing sexual satisfaction or the freedom to spend cash like its water would be the answer to the question; What is freedom? Though these are true in a sense; the freedom that rewards result from boundary.

Spending money like water is like trusting a broken cistern---when you go for water you will find it empty. Making a commitment to saving money requires discipline. According to the Deloitte Center for Financial Services; of Americans surveyed 58% don’t have a retirement plan; nearly 40% don’t know what an annuity or mutual fund is; and 20% expect to rely purely on Social Security for their retirement needs. Anecdotally I would put the statistics of those I work with at significantly higher for having no financial plan at all. If one is to have financial freedom later in life it will be a result of discipline now.

The holidays give ample opportunities to speak with my teen daughter about alcohol boundaries. At a recent event where many of the adults were incapacitated by drink the talk turned to boundaries. To enjoy beer, wine or drink isn’t wrong but to abuse it for the sake of drunkenness is. The Biblical injunction is not to get drunk. There are corollaries as well but those aren’t my present point. Simply put the enjoyment of wine is best had in the context of self-control. This goes for sex as well.

The Biblical pattern is to save sex for marriage. Much destruction will come from a brazen approach to satisfying flesh. Physical and mental guilt and emotional scars can result from loose liaisons. The act was always meant to be in the context of commitment not to satisfy one’s own selfish desire. It isn’t the sex that’s wrong it’s when and how. The fullest freedom comes when having sex inside a marriage.

There is reward in diligence and dignity in discipline. Delaying gratification enhances the thing obtained and the recipient. The fullest enjoyment of all good gifts comes when there is a safe and secure environment in which to enjoy them. This environment is founded on discipline and opens up to freedom. Sex for sex’ sake or spending for things--- or any other pursuit apart from discipline---the result is the same. Like the wife that is there as friend and lover in old age and the bank account that lets you live comfortably they are the sweet fruit of seeds long ago planted.

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