Saturday, August 15, 2009

What is Freedom?

I wrote this a few weeks ago before church started... don't know if you will agree with it or not, but I don't typically write to have people agree with me anyway:

Freedom... there is freedom in the promises of God, yet what is freedom? Are any of us truly free? I think it is important to really examine what the word freedom really means, especially considering we, as Americans, value freedom so much. I cannot even begin to describe how often I have heard, "Well, this is America and I'm free to do whatever I want," over the past years. I feel that this is a misguided understanding of freedom, and is most definitely incomplete.

If that statement was true, then there would be no laws, no moral code, and no order to a country that many of us know and love. And if there is no order then we are slaves to our will. We will not learn to control ourselves because there will be no reason to. So, if we are slaves to our will then we cannot be truly free.

Now, put order and law back into the mix. suddenly, there is right and wrong, at least on the worldly standards. there are consequences to every action be they good or bad, and people can rest a little easier because of the law and those who enforce it. This too, I feel, is still an incomplete view of freedom because of our reasons behind our actions. For instance, many of us will choose not to speed while driving not because of some sense of right and wrong and the desire to do right, but because we don't want a ticket, because we like our money (As a side note here, at this "level" of freedom we still do not master ourselves and thus become slaves to addictions, be they food, drugs, alcohol, T.V., etc).

There is one more element I would like to add to this scenario, God. Now, I know many people would consider God to be a form of slavery before freedom because of all the "rules" He puts on His followers, but bare with me. Even though God has commands for His followers, the reason they follow them is not out of a desire to stay out of trouble, but rather out of a desire to please Him. We do it because we love Him, because we want to, and not because we have to. I think that is the heart of true freedom. It requires the denial of self, thus we cannot be slaves to ourselves. We are able to say no to addictions out of love for people and God, and we do not obey the law (or the "rules") out of some notion that we do not want to get caught. I think this is true freedom.

Unfortunately, we as people (and that includes followers of Christ) fall short of this freedom on a daily basis. We do what we want to do for ourselves, we are selfish and proud, we are complete messes. However, that is what makes God's grace and the freedom in that so much sweeter. May we strive to live our lives in true freedom as slaves (by choice) of righteousness.

Grace and Peace

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