I’m reading a novel and a quote jumped out at me: “He belonged to someone and could no longer pretend otherwise, but he didn’t know who his master was.”
Who or what are we serving and are we really free? In the Bible the apostle Paul tells us “It was for freedom that Christ has set us free, no longer to be subject to the yoke of slavery.” But what is “freedom,” exactly? Is freedom based upon the country where you live, or can it have a deeper meaning?
When I was a child my relationship with my brother was rocky at times. Wrapped in my own self-centred world I often went about getting my own way. I would take things off my brother and sometimes get him into trouble. Thankfully my relationship with my brother is very good these days.
Even as adults we can have a sense of entitlement. We can think being free is putting me first and ignoring another person’s needs or feelings. As long as the courts say something is legal, we think we can live according to our own preferences. “Disapprove of my foul language? It’s a free country”. “Offended by my Facebook rant? Get over it”. “If our freedom came at somebody else’s expense, then hard cheese, that’s life”.
But when we look at Jesus’ life we see a totally different way of approaching the world. In his eyes we are free when we are spiritually poor, when we are humble and even when we mourn- there is freedom in looking to Jesus for help.
The quest for freedom is important in the Bible. In the first three chapters, the story of God’s creation, humanity gave up its freedom by choosing to rebel against God. From that time forward, the perfect freedom God created in the Garden of Eden was gone, and the long-term effects were both physical and spiritual.
The Old Testament of the Bible records how God’s people lost their physical freedom time and again as various empires overtook them.
The loss of physical freedom was so often tied to spiritual disobedience like worshiping false gods.
God used Moses and freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.
Jesus came like Moses, a rescuer, to free humanity from sin—the spiritual slavery that leads to death. Sin is a difficult thing to grasp.
We can all be good, show acts of kindness and it’s so good to see when that happens which has been especially evident during the coronavirus crisis. But the Bible stories highlight the other side of us- the side that sins against each other and against God. Sin can chain and enslave us.
Today, many people are living in spiritual slavery without realising it. We all look to get our needs met somehow. We may not express it this way but we are looking for something or someone to worship.
Many chase false gods like money, success, personal comfort. The man or woman who spends too much time at the office and neglects time with children at home. The person who has an affair and doesn’t care about his partner at home. The worker who is taking advantage of his employer and taking stuff home they shouldn’t.
We have the freedom to do these things or we have the freedom to come to God. To admit our wrongs, that we need him. Confess our sins the Bible says and he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins.
The Bible says God has put eternity in our hearts and only he can give us the unconditional love that we need.
What things are enslaving you today?
Turn to Jesus for freedom- He said, “I have come that you may have life, life in all its fullness”.