Christian Living | Culture

What Freedom Is and Isn’t

March 4, 2017

Freedom. I don’t know about you, but that word sends my imagination skipping through an open meadow – blue and sunny sky overhead and no worries in sight.

But is that what true freedom really is? Is it our ability to do anything we want, our realization of independence, our right to live untethered?

These definitions may be in the dictionary, but they do not capture the real essence of freedom.

WHAT FREEDOM IS NOT

Because of these incomplete definitions, we as women can wrongly believe that freedom means:

  • A easy, entitled existence.
  • A licentious lifestyle.
  • A problem-less relationship.
  • A lack of obligation.

We listen to the lie that we should be released from being accountable to anyone. It’s easy to agree with the world that freedom is about not being burdened by others, and defending our individual rights no matter the cost.

Sister, that’s not what Jesus tells us. 

He gives us freedom, the only true freedom there is, but it isn’t about picking and choosing responsibility, or our ability to live without a care for the consequences.

That kind of freedom is deceptive, appealing on the surface but selfish and destructive underneath. “Me” trumps all else. Cravings for that so-called freedom feed sin, leading to acts that grieve the Holy Spirit—such as divorce, abortion, rebellion against authority, strife. In the end it is a trap of sorrow, pain, anger, of life against God.

Culture's definitions of freedom fall short of the true liberty found in Christ. Click To Tweet

WHAT FREEDOM IS

Biblical freedom, however, is selfless and restorative. What Christ offers is freedom from sin:

  • He breaks our chains of shame.
  • He rescues us from the prison of vanity.
  • He removes us from evil darkness.
  • He enables us to overcome death.

All because Christ welcomed the burden of others—of us. Jesus carried our indignity upon the cross, endured the wrath we deserved, and respectfully followed the Father’s will instead of abandoning it for His own plan.

Jesus did not skip off into a meadow to live a comfortable and full life, but “emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant,” (Philippians 2:5-8) in order for us to live eternally with Him.

Free from sin as the Holy Son of God, He was thus free to show the greatest love imaginable. His life wasn’t roses and butterflies, but its mission was far greater. Jesus was and is free from fear, greed, envy, guilt, death, and through the Gospel offers the same freedom to us!

Jesus is free from fear, guilt, death...and through the Gospel offers the same freedom to us. Click To Tweet

Let’s study this freedom further by reading Scriptures about how to receive it and what we’re supposed to do with it.

How We Receive Freedom

“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

“Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.” John ‪8:34-36

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians ‪3:17

“There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2

Summary: We are slaves to sin, facing the painful consequences in life and deserving of God’s wrath for eternity, BUT through faith in Christ are spared, able to live freely for our Creator.

How We Are to Live In Freedom

“For freedom Christ has set us free, stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

“You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters. Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13

“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” 1 Peter ‪2:16

Summary: Christ makes us right before God, BUT this does not mean we are “free” to return to our old, evil ways. Salvation in Christ frees us to love others through service, because selfish impulses no longer dominate our hearts.

This freedom is not what the world expects, or even desires. However, for those who see the beauty of the cross and resurrection, this purer, genuine liberty is ours. Live in it today!

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