If you have kept up with the news recently, you may have seen that we just passed “Freedom Day” here in Scotland. August 9, supposably, was the day the Scots were set free. No more social distancing, no more Covid restrictions. Whilst I’m glad about these things, it does make me ask the question: Is this real freedom? Is freedom simply the end of Covid restrictions? If so, were we all truly free before March 2020 hit?
Free From . . .
Freedom: the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.
(Dictionary definition 1)
What we classify as freedom can say a lot about what we feel “imprisoned or enslaved” to. It could be an addiction, a toxic relationship, our mental health or simply the stress and busyness of life.
There are many things in life that we desperately long (and need) to be set free from, and I am not diminishing them. The purpose of this blog, however, is to identify how our culture’s view of freedom (and how it is attained) is the polar opposite to Biblical freedom.
If you spend a few minutes googling “freedom quotes” it will give you a good taste for how our culture understands freedom. Here is one example;
“The freedom we are looking for is the freedom to be ourselves and express ourselves.”
(Don Miguel Ruiz)
One way the world tells us we can be free is to rid ourselves from laws, commitments and boundaries; essentially anything that makes us feel trapped. If you are unhappy in your job, find a new one. If you don’t like your church, leave. If you don’t want to be a mum, abort your baby.
There is no wonder marriage has decreased by 39% in the last 100 years. People are searching for freedom, right? No strings attached. No commitment. People want an easy way out when they begin to feel restricted, or when they “fall out of love”.
If true freedom comes from not being “enslaved or imprisoned”, the question is, who decides what falls under this category? As we can see, the line can very quickly get blurry. Just because something is legal does not mean it is moral.
Free to . . .
Freedom: the power or right to act, speak or think as one wants.
(dictionary definition 2)
This definition can go slightly further in proclaiming the message of independence. It is the message that is now printed all over our kids t-shirts and water bottles.
“I am my own person”, “Be who you want to be”, “No one has the right to tell me how to live.”
Free to choose our gender and sexuality, free to have multiple partners, free to choose when to die, free to choose whether the unborn baby should live.
Where is God in all this freedom? Left on the side lines, labelled as restrictive, outdated, irrelevant. As Patricia Sampson boldly stated; “Self-reliance is the only road to true freedom…” According to Patricia,to find freedom is to live as god of your own life.
Isn’t this exactly how Satan painted freedom to Adam and Eve all those years ago? “Did God really say you should not eat from the fruit of that tree?” (Genesis 3:1) “You want to be free? Don’t listen to God, follow your heart. Follow your tummy! Don’t live life within the boundaries, life is too short, live your dreams!”
How often do we see these same lies of Satan infiltrating not only our world, but our own minds and even our churches today?
Are we subtly believing the lie that life with Jesus is restrictive? That there is a better option that comes from blurring the lines slightly? Surely, we don’t want to be too serious about some of that Bible stuff. After all, culture has changed and so have we since the time that was written, right?
Oh, Lord, protect us. Protect our churches, protect the next generation from falling into the deceptive lies of the evil one that freedom is found outside of You. Warn us and wake us up, show us worldly freedom leads to death, it will kill us and kill our churches. Give us a passion for Your truth.
“Now the mindset of the flesh is death, but the mindset of the Spirit is life and peace.”
“I will always obey your instruction, forever and ever. I will walk freely in an open place because I study your precepts.”
The paradox of the Bible is this: True freedom comes through obedience. If we want to truly experience freedom today, if we want to walk freely in an open place, we must not stray from the Word of God.
Can you see the difference? The world tells us to be our own god, set our own agenda, be the master of our own destiny; whereas the Bible tells us to simply and humbly trust God, follow His ways and let Him be the Master of our lives.
George Matheson beautifully expressed this paradox in the Words of his old hymn:
“Make me a captive Lord, and then I shall be free”.
Friends, we are all captives to something. If it is not the Lord, it is sin, and this sin will ultimately lead to death. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We all deserve death, but Jesus, the perfect spotless Son of God, gave up his own freedom so we can enjoy the freedom found only in Him.
As my Grandpa used to say: True freedom is not the liberty to do as you please but the power to do what you were meant to do and to be who you were meant to be.
Do you want to experience real freedom today? Are there old habits you just can’t seem to fight? Do you feel restless and burdened by life? Riddled with guilt of past mistakes?
Turn to your Creator. The One who has given you breath in your lungs today. Not only does He give us life, He sets out very clearly his design and purpose for this life in His Word. Surrender your life to Jesus, the one who died and rose again, the lover of your soul. Obey His ways and you will walk freely, with Him by your side.
Oh Lord, help us know the path to freedom comes only by humble obedience to you. May we submit our lives to you, trusting you know best. May we show the world the freedom, peace and joy that comes from life in the Spirit. Give us a hunger and delight for your commands. Help us not compromise and believe the lies of Satan, but may we be rooted and grounded in your Word.
“My chains are gone, my heart is free I rose went forth and followed thee.”