This time of year, much is said about freedom. The freedom we enjoy. The price that was paid for freedom. In that theme, the following question was blogged on a national forum: “What does being free mean to you?” One guy responded “To me being free is doing what I want to do and not having to answer to anyone for anything….The rich get to do what they want so they need to pay for me to do what I want.” Another replied: “No responsibilities, no bills or obligations. Having nothing which stops you or slows you down.”

Still another was more thoughtful and much closer to the truth. He gave this answer: “We can think we are truly free, and then make choices that ensnare us. Drug addiction is a good example of this. The addict is a slave to the substance they once freely chose, and if they continue down that road it ends in death. I think true freedom lies in realizing the truth about ourselves in relation to the world around us, living accordingly.”

Ooooh, that is so close to the truth. He said “we make choices that ensnare us.” That’s very true. Jesus said in John 8, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. The blog response continues “The addict is a slave to the substance they once freely chose…” Isn’t that the way it is? We freely choose something and then become a slave to it. Frank Pollard, a former pastor of mine, had a father who was an alcoholic. He often said, “My father took a drink and then the drink took my father.” We all, like sheep, have gone astray… the Bible says. Most of us…dare I say “all of us”…have things to which we are enslaved. And it doesn’t have to be one of the “biggies”: sex, drugs, etc. Many in our culture are slaves to media. We can’t survive without our phones, our iPads, FaceBook, the internet, TV…

Now, none of these things is a sin. They are wonderful tools. Even tools with which to serve God. Unless we become enslaved to them. Jesus came to set us free. Free from sin and death, yes! But also free from being slaves to anything but Jesus Christ.

Jesus said Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:35-36) Early in His ministry Jesus read this Isaiah scripture in the Temple that was about Himself: The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners…to set the oppressed free.

Jesus came to set us free. Free from our past. Free from worry. Free from doubt. Free from trying to earn our way to heaven. Free from trying to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. Not free from responsibility, as one of the blog responders said, but free from trying to take responsibility for things that are not our responsibility. Know anyone who does that? Katharine lives with someone who does that! 🙂

Jesus wants us to be free…free to serve Him and Him only. Free to live our lives with the joy of knowing that He is with us every moment of the day. That He never leaves us. That He is cheering us on. That He has a great future planned for us.

That is freedom. Freedom that Christ died to give us. Freedom that cost us nothing because it cost Him everything. Live free…free in Christ! That is true freedom.

Glenn Crosthwait
Worship Pastor
Johns Creek Baptist Church

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