Freedom – How free are you? . . .And what does that mean, anyway – to be free? Well, I suppose the answer to that depends on what kind or form of freedom one is referring to. You see, there are many forms of freedom. Freedom from pain – to be pain free, as in after an injury or illness that caused physical pain. Then there is freedom from emotional pain, like when we find ourselves in an unhappy relationship, and things change for the better; the relatinship heals – and we are, once again, free from emotional pain. Then there is spiritual freedom – or being set free from the lies of this world and entering the truth of God’s love with all the joys and peace that come with that kind of freedom.
There is also a general meaning to the concept of freedom. In its noun form, it has been defined as the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restrain. In a governmental context, it can mean the absence of subjection to foreign domination or a despotic government – or the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.
In the counseling ministry, we often encounter situations where people believe they are enslaved by their circumstances – or by an unhappy relationship. We have also met those who are in the grasp of substance abuse or emotional or personality disorders that can cause them to feel imprisoned and trapped – not free to experience joy – the joy that God intends for His children.
In truth, the freedom we seek; the freedom that God has planned for us for all eternity is referred to in many places in God’s Word to us. One such examlpe is found in Galatians 5:1. It says, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” The ‘yoke of slavery’ spoken of here is exactly what we encounter as we observe the pain of some of our clientele in thier struggles to be free.
One such situation has been particularly difficult to watch and deal with. The difficulty was in seeing the pain, and then understanding that the answer is to be found in Christ alone – and finally witnessing the unwillingness of the clients to surrender to God’s plan for their life, choosing instead, to follow their own
way of dealing with the brokenness of their circumstances.
It has been said by one of our counselors – and experienced many times to hold a lot of truth – that we could, by God’s grace, help to heal 100% of the relationships and brokenness we encounter, except for one thing.That thing is Free Will! – While we are aware that God gives us free will for one important reason; so that we may freely choose Him, the challenge of the gift of free will lies in the surrender and humility required to choose God’s will and plan for us, and to not lean on our own understanding. The choice is ours – and sadly, pride can often get in the way for many of us, causing us to choose to go our own way, turning our back on God’s call to trust Him and His plan for us.
In order that we would have freedom, God paid the ultimate price of sacrificing His own Son, Jesus Christ. Our hope of freedom lies in Christ alone. . .And that freedom was, indeed, not free! That fact alone, is reason enough to place all our trust in God’s plan for us to give us the freedom for which Christ has set us free. We are called to stand firm in confidence that God’s knowledge is supreme – and ours is often flawed by our pride, self-centeredness and greed.
As we enter the season of the year when we celebrate the freedom that was hard-won for us by the founding fathers of this great nation, there are some important connections to God’s Word to us relative to freedom. The freedom we enjoy as a nation, was also hard-won by the blood, sweat and tears of the many who sacrificed for our sake and for the freedom God has given us.
Our prayer for you as you celebrate Independence Day, is that you remember that your indepedence is a precious gift that is primarily based on your dependence on the One Who gave it all for us!
Happy summer – and a blessed celebration of your freedom in Christ!
In His love and to His glory,