Today is a day we celebrate America’s birthday and the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Freedom.
Freedom involves the ability to choose, and our lives are often the result of our choices, our decisions. It is also about being independent from slavery. Many of us don’t think of ourselves as slaves, but we are, and often what enslaves us is the result of a choice. We can choose to eat healthy and exercise, which frees us from many disadvantages of making a different choice. We can choose to live above our means and spend unwisely, for temporary gratification or status, and be enslaved by debt. Or we can choose financial wisdom. There are other choices we make in our behavior, responses, beliefs, etc., that result in either freedom or slavery.
The point is, freedom is not easy. We must fight for it whether it’s on a battlefield, at work, while driving, or in our homes.
The best test of freedom is not what you are free to do, but what you are free not to do. This is a note I had written on an old outline from a weekend message at church I found Saturday while doing some organizing. How appropriate that I should find this on the very weekend it was dated seven years ago. I’d like to share it with you. The message is titled “How to Experience Real Freedom”.
I’m passionate about God and my relationship with Him through my acceptance of Christ as my Savior. I often feel emotional in church as His overwhelming love washes over me as I sing in worship. I thought the love I feel for Him and from Him, and a sense of purpose and trust, is what makes me excited about God, but it’s something else that I’ve never identified until now. Freedom. That’s what it is. Freedom from the things of the world….from the trappings of being human.
John 8:32 and 36 say this: You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free… If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Here are FIVE THINGS CHRIST SETS YOU FREE FROM:
1. Jesus wants to set you free from the burden of guilt. (Ephesians 1:7,8)
2. Jesus wants to set you free from the poison of bitterness.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger…Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31,32
I found this quote: “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. ” So true, isn’t it? You’re not punishing the other person by not forgiving them. You’re punishing yourself, drinking the poison of unforgiveness and bitterness. This concept also extends to the more mild form of acceptance and humility. Thinking and behaving like we’re right all the time, that enslaves us to self-centeredness and isolation.
3. Jesus wants to set you free from the expectations of others.
“We do not aim to please men, but to please God who knows us through and through.” 1 Thessalonians2:4b
4. Jesus wants to set you free from the control of desires. (i.e., immediate gratification in our “if it feels good, do it” world)
Jesus – “everyone who sins is a slave of sin…(but) if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. John 8:34,36
“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts.” Romans 6:12
5. Jesus wants to set you free from the fear of death.
1 John 5:13 says: I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (Believe in means to trust in. To surrender your own will to that of God.)
Also see Hebrews 2:14,15
(End of church message)
Some need to take the big step across the line of faith and sincerely accept Christ as your Savior. Some of us have done so, and have freedom from the fear of what happens when we die, but certain aspects of faith waiver, or we are still slaves to our own will, or we establish that relationship with God and then don’t work on it and mature in faith. Some people do not read the Bible that enables us to know God and how to live in obedience. Some don’t do what the Bible says.
God loves us and wants the best for each of us, and He has communicated this in the Bible. Unlike us, God and the Bible are unchanging. Reliable. God gave us His Word so we could live in freedom – freedom from the ways of this world, the ways that have unfortunate results.
Let’s make this truly an Independence Day by choosing to be free of whatever enslaves us.