Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Finding Freedom in Jesus

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. ~ Galatians 5:1; NASB

Christ has come to set us free! Freedom is what we all desire and it is, at least for Americans, a right for all people. We want to see people live in freedom rather than in oppression. God too desires that we be free! This desire is seen in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This news that Jesus brings freedom is indeed good news.

We desire freedom and God desires that we be free. Here is where we run into a little bit of a problem: our definitions for freedom aren’t necessarily the same. Too often we see freedom as the ability for us to decide what we want to do. To be free from the expectations of authorities, parents, and other social restraints. To have the financial freedom to go where we want to go and do what we want to do. Freedom is defined when we have complete control of our lives.

God’s definition appears to be different, at least if we look at the Bible. In fact the writers of the New Testament who experienced freedom in Jesus described themselves in an interesting way. In Romans the Apostle Paul writes; Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus...(Romans 1:1, NASB). We would understand a bond-servant to be a slave. James, the half-brother of Jesus, also writes; James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ...(James 1:1, NASB). And the Apostle Peter wrote; Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ...(2 Peter 1:1; NASB).

It is obvious that these men did not equate autonomous control of their lives to freedom found in Jesus. They believed they were free, but that freedom lead them to surrender to the authority of Jesus Christ. So while we might think that they are free, these men we lived under the authority of Jesus, had found true freedom.

Now I have this question to throw out to you: Is your life better or more complicated since you have made the decisions on how to live? In this country and in this period of time we have had great freedom to choose our lives. The freedom to choose our careers, the freedom to choose our spouses, the freedom to choose friends and other relationships, the freedom of what to buy with the money that we make, and the freedom to believe what seems most logical to us.

With all this freedom many of us feel trapped and enslaved. We feel trapped in a job that we hate. We feel trapped in a marriage that we no longer want. We feel enslaved by the expectations and whims of our friends. We feel enslaved to the massive amount of debt that we have. We feel trapped and enslaved by hopelessness of beliefs that offer facts but are devoid of truth. When we are free to decide how we want to live we end up being trapped and enslaved in thousands of different ways.

That is why Jesus brings freedom. He offers a life free from the curse and condemnation of the Law. He offers a life free from the addictions of sin. He offers a life free to live in the spontaneity of love for God and people. Free to use our money to help other people. Free to use our blessings to be a blessing to other people. Free to hope in the midst of hopelessness. And free to give our lives to God in response to the great and amazing love that He has shown to us.

Are you living a free life or are you enslaved to your addictions and the whims of other people? The only way to truly experience freedom is to give your life to Jesus. Are you willing to put your life under the authority of Jesus so you can experience everlasting freedom?

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