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Freedom
Brett Anderson ©2005

"To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendents and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?"

Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." [John 8:31-36]

"What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey - whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness." [Romans 6:15-18]

THEY MAY TAKE OUR LIVES... BUT THEY'LL NEVER TAKE...OUR FREEEEEDOM!

In the world today, and even often within the church sometimes, I think people often misunderstand the concept of freedom. A lot of people seek to define freedom as the absence of restraint (rules/structure/laws). But total absence of restraint is actually more along the lines of anarchy and chaos. True freedom is obtained and possible when the right rules and structures are put in place that will benefit everyone concerned and not allow prejudice/disparity/dominance for specific people or groups of people within a system.

For Christians, often freedom is seen as getting all the good stuff God has to offer (salvation, grace, forgiveness, spiritual gifts, blessing, healing...) but without it affecting the way I want to live my life (ignoring things like sacrifice, cost, servanthood, humility, laying down my life) and that too leads to a sense of chaos and confusion and often the world looks on and sees no difference to itself and so is not encouraged to be a part of us at all.

We love to take the stuff God has to offer (similiar to the story of the Prodigal Son - take what we see as ours and run away from the Father) but we are not as quick to embrace wholeheartedly the truth that He holds out for us in His word and the way that He wants us to live.

KEEP IT TOGETHER

I read somewhere that happiness/peace/love without truth is a little like the freedom from pain that a leper enjoys - sooner or later his/her entire body falls apart. [leprosy is a disease where peripheral nerves become gradually insensitive]

If you don't know about leprosy and you hear that there is a person who doesn't feel pain, you will more than likely think, 'Wow! What a priviledge. How awesome must that be. I wish I was like that. That must be absolute freedom.' But once you start to realise the cost of the 'freedom' that this person has, and the place of pain in our lives as a warning mechanism (eg. when I touch a hot stove, the pain tells me to stop touching it - without that warning I might damage my hand beyond repair) then you realise that it is not freedom at all.

The same with people who claim to be Christians and yet their lives appear no different from anyone else (the area of relationships being an excellent example - i have heard horrendous stories of what Christians get up to in relationships that they think is okay because 'it's not sex' or because 'everyone is doing it' or even 'we're going to get married') and they think they are living in freedom. Yet without truth, it operates pretty much like in the case of the leper - sooner or later the lepers entire body falls apart... sooner or later the Christian's entire life will fall apart.

IT'S AS STRAIGHTFORWARD AS

"If you love Me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever - the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you." [John 14:15-17]

"Jesus replied, "If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love Me will not obey My teaching. These words you hear are not My own; they belong to the Father who sent Me." [John 14:23-24]

It's that simple. If you call yourself a Christian then I assume you love Jesus. If you love Jesus then you follow His commands. As a Christian we need to be holding on tightly to truth, whether or not it feels good (because sometimes a bit of pain could be a positive warning sign or for our benefit in some other way) because we can trust the One who has called us to follow Him (with all our heart, soul, strength and mind.)

CONCLUSIONARY REMARKS

So maybe it is time for you to take a look at your life and maybe examine it under a different lens than perhaps the one you may normally be used to. The lens of God's truth. Not am I happy with the way I am living and what I do with my time/money/energy and am I satisfied, so much as how does God feel about...

...the way I spend my money?

...the way I treat my parents?

...the things I do in my relationship with my girl/boyfriend?

...the way I treat my husband or wife or children?

...the underhanded business practices?

...the lies I regularly tell?

...and so on...

If there is stuff to confess and repent of (which means turn 180 degrees and start walking in a different direction as opposed to just saying 'sorry') then do that, restore your relationship with God, choose to follow His commands and seek His ways, and then live a life of Truth.