Like so many topics that we discussed together, freedom is incredibly fraught with misunderstanding. If you live in the United States like I do then you’re likely very aware of our colloquial understanding of freedom as “the ability to do what we want.“
(I can’t say that I know much about the way freedom is understood in the rest of the world, so if you have insights from other continents I would be extremely interested in how your culture views freedom, so hit reply and let me know if you have thoughts to share!)
But it’s also an often quoted scripture verse that says “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free”– so is the idea that God came to let us simply do what we want?
That doesn’t seem quite right – does it?
So what the heck is freedom really?
The freedom Christ desires for us is not simply the freedom to do whatever we want, but the freedom to be able to do what we ought.
The main thing that keeps us from being truly free is sin – not undo oversight or pesky laws. When we find ourselves in an endless loop of doing something that we know we shouldn’t, repenting, and then doing the thing again much to our dismay, we have found an area in our lives where we are not terribly free.
It is up to us to turn those things over to God and focus on them and our moral and prayer lives so that we can finally, once and for all, find freedom from those shortcomings.
It is a favorite image of mine that I heard from a preacher once that it is not freedom to sit down at a piano and bang away with no knowledge of how to play. It is true freedom to be a master pianist, free to combine notes and techniques and styles with grace and eloquence.
It is not freedom from rules that makes us free, It is in excellence in application of those rules, God’s laws for our lives, that makes us truly free. So that’s what we’ll be talking about the rest of this month – what it looks like to be free as a Christian and how that freedom manifest in our lives.
My hope is that this will be a meaningful month of meditation for you, especially if you live in the United States like I do, as we lead up to our national holiday at the beginning of July – often associated deeply with the freedom that can come from living in a democracy.
I’d also ask that wherever you live you offer up a short prayer for the United States right now, as we head into fall elections and continue to struggle to best protect and care for the most vulnerable in our country.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.