From slavery to freedom
Before I was a believer, if you had tried to tell me that I was in bondage–I would have argued vehemently with you. I absolutely believed that I was living in freedom. I was not chained to rules and regulations like the people I knew who went to church and claimed to be Christians. It seemed to me as an observer looking in, that their lives were full of obligations–things they seemed compelled to do–things they could not do. While I on the other hand was free–no rules, no obligations. But what I failed to see back then, was that in my “freedom”, I was in fact living in slavery to sin. For all my smugness over my lack of restrictions on my life, I was not happy. And while I would have argued the fact, I was not free.
Last Sunday in his sermon, Pastor Chris said that our internal slavery to things like jealousy, discontent,a critical spirit, feelings of inadequacy–can be far more enslaving than actual physical bondage. It is these things that enslave our minds and our souls that actually keep us from enjoying a life of freedom.
Many years ago I read a little passage in my study Bible that said this: “people often think they will be free if they can get away from God. Yet, inevitably everyone serves somebody or something. Whether a human king, an organization, or even one’s own selfish desires. Just as a fish is not free when it leaves the water and a tree is not free when it leaves the soil, we are not free when we leave the Lord”. I have these words written out and pinned on my bulletin board because they remind me of how enslaved I actually was when I served not my God but my own selfishness.
In the passage from John 8:31 Jesus tells the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” The people He is talking to go on to question Jesus. They correct him by reminding him that they are the sons of Abraham and they have never been in slavery to anyone, so how can Jesus say that they will be set free. Oh how this reminds me of myself all those years back!
But a few verses later we read, “Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is a part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free'”
Our freedom from the bondage of sin comes through our identity as sons and daughters of God. The covenant relationship that God has made with His beloved children gives us freedom! But we have to reach out and claim that freedom. We do that by digging into His Word–the Bible–so that we can know Him more intimately. We also claim our freedom when we go to Him in prayer, learning to savor His presence in our daily lives. And we do this when we give Him thanks for all that He has done to set us free. We have access to the most high King–He is our Father! And we are free!