Aug 11, 2022 08:00am
So You Say You Want Your Freedom?

Freedom seems to be a common desire for mankind. 

We desire the freedom to choose for ourselves. 

We desire the freedom to be ourselves. 

We desire the freedom to live comfortably and pursue our own happiness. 

These pursuits are so common that groups of people throughout history have come together in unified forces to revolt against authorities to pursue these freedoms as they see fit.  It has been foundational for many societies, countries, and nations as they form to begin what is aptly named a “war of independence”. These wars are celebrated and revered as notable days because they memorialize those who sacrificed life to secure the freedoms that are enjoyed by that group, state, nation or culture of people.

In our lives as individuals, we also tend to view freedom as freedom from the authority of another, or freedom from oppression, or freedom from slavery. We want to be free to do as we please and not feel obliged or in bondage to something or someone. But we tend to not factor in that our own desires are not always for what is good, because they come from a sin nature that we were born with since the Fall of Adam. 

We have a tendency when we pull away from God’s authority to pursue things that lead us into bondage of a different sort. You see, when we are free from God’s righteous standards, we are enslaved to sin and when we are free from sin, we are enslaved to righteousness. But since we must choose one over the other, it’s important that we choose wisely the master we will serve.  Would we prefer to be under Satan, who would be happy to sit by and watch us self-destruct, or God, who will guide us according to how He created us for our good and His glory.

Romans 6:20-21 says, “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.” These verses state very succinctly and clearly that the results of following fleshly desires and yielding to them as our master results in shame for us.  As I think about these verses, I can’t help but think of all the times I have had conversations with addicts, adulterers, or liars who resist and fear surrendering to God because they want to pursue the things that feed their own desires but are confused after having indulged themselves that they are more miserable and fearful and shameful than they were before.  

The reason is clear from this passage in Romans 6. In indulging the flesh we become slaves to an evil master who only wants to “steal, kill, and destroy,” whereas surrendering to God is surrendering to a master whose stated purpose says, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” The choice seems very clear when looking at it from this point of view, so why is this such a struggle in daily life?

John chapter 8 has several nuggets of scripture that give us insight into this struggle. The chapter begins with the story of a woman caught in the act of adultery who has been brought to Jesus by the religious leaders to see if He would follow what the law had declared should be her punishment. Jesus responds to the religious leaders by reminding them that . . .  

a) They are not judges. God is the one who judges the hearts of men and determines what is due them.  

b) Jesus reminds them that they cannot and should not demand judgement for this woman because in doing so, they condemn themselves, because they are not sinless. 

Jesus had authority to release this woman from judgement and extend mercy to her and even command her to go and sin no more because He is the sinless Son of God who created her and would soon pay the penalty for her sin.  

We don’t really know what this woman did after she left Jesus’ presence that day, but we see that she was given the possibility of living free because Jesus by His act of mercy demonstrated that He was more interested in her living life abundantly than he was interested in pouring out His justified wrath to destroy her. She could also return to her sin and find herself in the same miserable life of guilt and shame and hiding and potentially in front of a less merciful person to judge her, like one of the religious leaders who brought her to Jesus that day. Jesus put it this way in verses 31, 32, and 36: “If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free . . . Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

So if the truth sets us free, what do lies do for us?  They are one of Satan’s favorite tactics and he uses them just like he did with Adam and Eve in the garden.  Lies make us question truth and convince us that pursuing lust or selfish desire will make us feel fulfilled and bring contentment, but it never does. Because the very nature of lust is that it’s “never enough,” it is therefore insatiable. When we pursue satisfying something that is insatiable, we are enslaved by it.  

It is my prayer that you will surrender daily to Jesus, the Master who bought you with His own blood in order to give you true freedom. As you do so, you will experience abundant life that allows you to be free to live as the person God created you to be by removing shame, guilt, and bondage to self-destruction.  

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