“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
As Christians, we’re probably familiar with the concept of freedom. We believe that through Jesus, we have freedom from sin and death. Jesus says himself, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). But sometimes our freedom is misunderstood.
I remember as a kid, a common phrase to get out of trouble was, “It’s a free country, I can do what I want.” The logic was obviously flawed. Just because America is a “free country,” meaning that it doesn’t answer to or belong to any other nation, doesn’t mean there are no laws within that country. It’s the same with Christianity sometimes. People say things like, “Jesus doesn’t judge me,” quoting the freedom from condemnation that Jesus promises to support their continued sinful practices. The opposite is true though. While Jesus did say that he came not to judge or condemn but to save, he didn’t mean that it’s acceptable for his followers to live in sin.
The real message of Christ is that your sin is exactly what is keeping you from being free. We see some of the commandments of Christianity as restricting and harsh, while they’re actually the key to your freedom. Why do we fight back so hard against the guidelines Christ gave us for life? Because we were slaves to sin to the desires of our flesh. When we believe in Jesus and begin to live according to his will, our human nature fights back because we were by nature slaves to our own bodies. Our bodies tell us to be selfish, to do what feels good in the moment, to serve ourselves first, to worship ourselves above all. It doesn’t take long living that way to realize that it doesn’t actually feel much like freedom at all.
True freedom is the ability to live beyond your flesh, beyond the desires of your human nature, and into the spiritual nature. To serve fellow human beings without pretense or selfish ambition. To love your neighbor for no other reason than for the fact that they were created by God. To not be bound by any particular need for money, sex, power, vanity, or material possessions, because your soul has been satisfied by the promise of eternal life with Christ. That’s true freedom.
Let us never be deceived that freedom comes from rebellion against you. There is no freedom outside of you, only slavery to sin and death. I want to live the free life that you had planned for me, and I believe that Jesus died to give that to me. Help me to live according that plan and purpose, and not my own.
In Jesus’ Name,