Don’t worry, this has nothing to with America or even the church. You can breathe a sigh of relief.
Freedom is a very misunderstood concept. In fact it’s a subject that I have been thinking about for a while. I’ve been thinking about what true freedom is, what false freedom is, and how to find true freedom while detecting false freedom. I don’t think I have the “answer” but I definitely have a few thoughts. Let’s start with false freedom.
“I can’t believe you don’t drink” “I can’t believe you don’t have sex”, “I can’t believe you don’t do drugs”. These are statements I’ve heard countless times in my life. Usually after that statement is said, the person follows up by saying something along the lines of “Man you must have no freedom”. At this point I chuckle and say “No, I actually have more freedom than you do”. How? Why? What? Is usually the response I get.
The problem with our cultures view of freedom is that we assume freedom means doing whatever you want. However I think this is a skewed way to view it. Freedom like that actually leads to bondage. Sure you have the “freedom” to smoke a cigarette but it’s only a matter of time before that freedom owns you. If you don’t believe me just look around. I know several friends that can’t go very long without a smoke. What was once freedom is now the slave driver, and at almost 8 bucks a pack, it’s not a cheap “freedom” either.
The same goes with the idea of sexual freedom. Sexual freedom quickly turns in to addiction where you need to sleep with someone to satisfy the desire you have. What once was freedom is now slavery.
See, the world sees freedom as doing whatever you want, what they don’t realize is that most people don’t do whatever they want, they are controlled by the very thing they at one point freely chose.
So what is true freedom? Well being a follower of Jesus I really believe freedom is found in Christ. Not just from sin, but freedom in life. I know many friends that have chosen to abstain from sexual activity until marriage. Because of that they have healthy relationships with members of the opposite sex, they are not driven to do irrational things in order to satisfy the craving for sexual activity, and they have very little to no emotional baggage that they are carrying around. Because of their abstinence, they live free. They live free of guilt, of complex relationships, and free from a desire that is ultimately consuming.
See, when we live with Christ, He shows us how we were meant to live from the start. When we poison ourselves with the abuse of things they quickly become the driver in the car. But when we choose to abstain from certain things for a time, or choose to abstain from some things all together, or choose to limit how much we have of certain things and instead fill them with the life Jesus models for us, we experience freedom of the truest kind.
In a lot of ways it’s like a marriage. You can’t do whatever you want in a marriage, I mean I guess you can, but you wouldn’t want to because there are consequences to some of your choices. So you limit your freedom because of the marriage, but in that marriage you’re really free aren’t you? Free to be yourself 100% and, free to be loved unconditionally, Marriage might seem “binding” but it’s actually freeing.
To sum it all up, my point is that true freedom is not doing whatever you want. True freedom is found in Christ, living life the way He lived it, not being mastered by anything but enjoying life the way it was meant to be enjoyed. Freedom ultimately comes by putting things in their proper place. Having a drink is fine, but once that freedom is abused, it can quickly become slavery. Eating is great, but an abuse of that leads to gluttony and being mastered by your appetite. Freedom is when we put things in to the place God created them to be put. Ultimately when we do this we fall in to the rhythm of life and instead of living with a weight on our shoulders, we live being able to function fully and freely in this world.