Alive to Freedom
“…and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.”
ost of us, regardless of our age, share something in common with every rebellious teenager on the planet: we don't want anyone to tell us what to do. We call this a desire for freedom, but what actually happens when we are given our own way is not freedom at all. The end result of what we believe is a utilization of free will turns out to be a trap that enslaves. As Romans 6:16 says: "Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? "
We’ve heard it said that human beings can't be free, that we will either serve sin or serve God, but the truth goes deeper than that. God created us to be free, and then made freedom possible by sending us a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is Satan who wants our servitude. The Lord desires our freedom; indeed, He delights in our freewill choices—the ones that are made for His glory—just as a parent delights in a three-year-old who displays unexpected dexterity in assembling a puzzle. Sin represents bondage and robs us of free will, but the freedom we have through Christ enables us to make an unfettered choice to serve righteousness. Our choice is not between two sorts of servitude. We choose between slavery to darkness versus the precious privilege of doing Kingdom work for the Lord under no other obligation but that of love.
It is important that we see sin within us as being separate from ourselves, from who we are in Christ. As Romans 7:17 says, “…it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me;” it is sin that makes stupid, self-defeating choices. Sin propels us to in-the-moment gratification and gives no thought to consequences. Sinful impulses don't have to be followed, that is the freedom we have through Jesus. Those impulses are inconvenient, but they don't have to be crippling because, through Christ, we are free. We don't have to bow to the dictates of disobedience and fear.
Fear is a potent inhibitor of our freedom in Christ. We fear what might happen in the future and this drains present resolve and energy. We even fear the past, because when separated from the clarity of the Lord’s perspective, our memories can’t be trusted. Apart from faith we remember the events, but not the sweetness of the Lord's sustenance. We must trust and know Him in our present in order to believe Him in our past.
Our challenge is to walk in the Lord's freedom, which cannot be compromised because it is His and not ours. By submitting to God in obedience, we gain higher ground, above the ability of the enemy to broach. We don’t have to succumb to the devil's fear tactics. It isn’t that we need to abide more closely to the Lord so as not to feel fear, but that fear needs to go so we can abide more closely. This can only happen through obedience borne of faith.
When we walk according to His will, the Lord Himself sustains and protects in ways we could not have anticipated or provided for ourselves or for those we love. Freedom doesn't come through striving, but is a gift appropriated by faith. The gift is already given.
Pray: Dear Lord, help me to separate my perception of myself from the entity of sin within me. Help me to recognize that sinful impulses have to do with Satan’s desire to control and enslave me. Guide me to align my will with Yours because I trust in Your love for me. Help me to recognize when sin is influencing my will. Lord thank You for Your forgiveness and grace that covers me when I sin, but please help me to stop falling to the enemy’s tactics against me so I may participate more fully in the freedom You purchased for me on the Cross. Amen.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.Galatians 5:1