Four centuries past in the year of our Lord, 1607, the first Pilgrims landed on the banks of what is now Virginia, founding the first American colony, Jamestown. I know that our history lessons teach that the first landing was in Plymouth for political correctness, but the landing in Plymouth (or Plimouth as it was so named) did not occur until 1620; some thirteen years later.
Whatever landing you choose, the reason these people endured months in tiny ships, unspeakable hardships, and the fear of the unknown, was religious persecution in their homelands. This freedom was so important to the authors of our Constitution, they made Freedom of Religion the First Amendment.
If religion is primarily a belief system, then the First Amendment has allowed us the right to think as we wish; not collectively, but individually. This freedom not only affects those with a belief in a Supreme being, but those who choose atheism, humanism, socialism and every other 'ism' that can be contrived by man. As with any freedom, there comes a responsibility. Our beliefs should never impinge the same right of another for even God has allowed man to choose him and his plan of salvation - or not.
Yet, once the our choice has been made, God does direct and admonish those who have chosen his path. In the book of Revelation, the angel of the Lord comes to the Disciple, John during his time of prayer and tells him to write what he sees for seven churches located at that time in Asia minor. John is then presented before the risen Christ and directed to record the issue Jesus has with these seven churches. But, before Jesus speaks to these churches, he shows John seven lamp stands - already housed in the throne room of God - so despite the shortcomings stated below, they are still promised for salvation.
I have listed each of the churches below. They are numbered as they are mentioned but listed from the best to the worst.
6. Philadelphia A church of brotherly love
2. Smyrna A church of martyrdom, persecution and poverty
1. Ephesus Apostolic, desirable, but they have left their first love - Jesus
3. Pergamos Married to the world. A church of mixed doctrines
4. Thyatira Continual sacrifice. Ungodly doctrines
5. Sardis A dead church although a few are not defiled.
7. Laodicea Lukewarm in their spirit - spewed out
I am employed in a very regulated industry, therefore, I must conduct my employment within the scope of my employers rules and regulations if I intend to keep my employment there. I do have the freedom to deviate from their decreed 'Best Practices', but my consequences would be the forfeit of the rewards (salary, bonuses and benefits).
So it is with God. As our Creator, he laid out the pathway to his rewards. We have the freedom to accept his plan or forfeit his rewards. Choose wisely and may God bless you, indeed.