It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. —Galatians 5:1
The Fourth of July 2020—definitely unlike any we’ve ever had. There is a lot going on in our world right now, and for me, it’s causing me to ponder a lot of things more deeply. In just a little over three months, the world as we knew it before has drastically changed. Who knows if it will ever be the same again? The Fourth of July marked the third holiday that we were sheltering in place. Instead of the usual colorful firework displays that we often see (whether from the local lake where they used to have a show) or neighbors that are doing their own, we heard loud booms and cracks that sounded more like real warfare. It made me think of the many people now (and through the years) that have to endure living in war and chaos. I thought of our own country and the people who fought for this land so that we could live in a free country. It also made me think of how, right now, it feels like we aren’t as free as we once were living in the midst of a pandemic.
However, I realized that no matter what is going on around us, we can experience freedom as believers in Christ. What does that mean? I believe that as we walk in our relationship with Jesus, He gives us a freedom that we can’t get any other way. He is the only One who can:
- Free us from our sin
- Free us from our fears
- Free us from our habits
- Free us from the inner turmoil
- Free us from our past
- Free us from the darkness
Viktor Frankl was a Psychiatrist who survived the concentration camps in Nazi Germany. He wrote one of the most influential books of the last 100 years, Man’s Search for Meaning. In it, he is quoted as saying:
“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.”
God Himself has given each of us the ability to choose how we respond –He’s given us the free will to even choose a relationship with Him. He doesn’t force us to love or worship Him. He gives us that choice. However, when we willingly choose to be in relationship with Him, and we choose to accept the pardon He has offered us through His Son, Jesus Christ, to make payment for our sin, which we cannot do for ourselves, we now have freedom that is beyond anything this world can offer. Now, when we are in tough circumstances or stress, we can go to the living God who will meet our needs. The Bible says about Jesus:
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:14-16
The Bible also tells us to set our minds on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2). When we realize that we have an eternal life waiting for us, one that will last forever and will be in paradise in the presence of God,* and that we have a merciful God who promises to meet all of our needs here as well (And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus- Philippians 4:19), we can be free from the things of this life that want to keep us in bondage, either literally or figuratively.
*If we accept His gift for us of pardoning our sins through the sacrifice of His perfect Son on our behalf. (For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. –John 3:16)