In the society in which we live the word ‘freedom’ means different things to different people. As a follower of Jesus I understand freedom, true freedom that is, to be the outcome of faith in God. “In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” (Eph. 3:12 – NIV) In other words, I embrace what God gives to me and believe what He says about me to be true. I say ‘no’ to slavery and ‘yes’ to the liberty he has made available.
Free from Obligation
Because of Jesus, we have been accepted in to his family. We are free to live free from the dysfunctionality of the past. Jesus’ freedom, worked in to our lives allows us to experience deliverance from slavish habitual living found within law keeping. Emancipation from condemnation. Release from obligation. Liberty to love and love and love God with everything within us. And, to know that it is all His doing! In Christ Jesus I have been liberated from darkness, unbelief, oppression, shame, guilt, condemnation and released in to the kingdom of His Light and life on earth.
Freedom IS a work of Grace
There are aspects of this freedom life that are instantaneous. They are a complete work of God’s grace within our lives. God’s grace gives us freedom from sin and the power it tries to wield over us. Freedom to make choices that are beneficial to our lives. In his book, ‘The Long Road To Freedom’ Nelson Mandela who had been incarcerated in a South African prison for 27 years realised this truth upon his release.
“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
We have been set free from bitterness, hatred, envy, self-centredness and obligation to name a few traits. I am no longer obliged to try harder to be better as a believer, for in Jesus I have been brought in to a most incredible place called – ‘intimacy with God’
Freedom is the Path to Life
“But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and discovered the delight of God telling you, what a surprise. A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way!” – Romans 6:22,23 (TMSG)
In early Hebrew times a slave was to be set free after offering his service to a family in the seventh year. If the servant did not want to leave the family because of his or her love for them their ear was to be pierced. “...He or she will become yourservant for life.” (Deut. 15:17) That is our choice too!
Our goal in life is to hug or hold on to, in deep affection the person of Jesus. In doing this we copy God as beloved children by embracing the ways of Jesus just as he did his Father’s way. “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again.”
The mystery of resurrection life is apparent in this statement. True freedom is to ‘lay down my life each day’ and allow Jesus to raise it up again. In daily life the following and giving away of our lives for His sake is bound up in hearing our Father’s voice within.
What Is Freedom?
I recently asked a number of friends this very question. I will leave you with their responses.
“That’s a good question – we know what it’s not….. It’s not licence. It’s not independence. It’s not just release from bondage. I believe any description of freedom would have to include… Surrendering to our Father. Being like Jesus. Having choice and free will.” – Gill B.
“Free from our ego and thinking that getting our own way is what constitutes our liberty and joy. Free from living as the small ‘I’ of self and living in the infinite glory of the ‘I Am’ Free from the preconceptions we have about ourselves and others and ‘seeing’ Christ in us and others. Not I that live but Christ in me. An endless journey in to infinite love.” – Chad T.
“Living in the certainty of being loved by our wonderful heavenly Father. Being led rather than driven. Knowing who holds the future.” – Colin L.
“The ability to say no to something. e.g. Free from alcohol – the ability to say no to alcohol as opposed to not being able to say no. The freedom in Jesus is that He takes responsibility for your life . We just have to rest in Him.” – Gordon G.
“Free from what people think of me and to know that I can be confident in who I am because Jesus made me this way. Not to be anxious but to trust in Jesus and wait on Him.” – Adrian S.
“Christ has set me free, completely free. I am free for my own sake but more importantly free for his sake. I can choose to stay in the place of asserting freedom for my own sake and he will love me no less. But there is a greater freedom in laying down my self sake freedom in order for him to be completely free to be himself in me, freedom for his sake.” – Natalie K.