Freedom is at the heart of life as a believer. Freedom is just as central to your existence as it was to your creation. Regardless of your personality, history, experience, or genetics, you were made to be free. You were designed with freedom in your blueprints. You were planned to experience actual, deep down, overflowing, abundant and gratuitous freedom — the power of the moment where you discover that you have a choice.
When Jesus came to earth, His purpose was to give us freedom, to grant us that choice. It is, in fact, so central to His message that He equates all sin to slavery, and all salvation to freedom.
“Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you keep obeying my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone on earth. What do you mean, ‘set free’?” Jesus replied, “I assure you that everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will indeed be free. ” – John 8
It is perhaps easy to think of freedom as only a right that is granted by a government, or that freedom is perhaps simply an artifact of the laws that have made the American dream a reality for so many people who fled the religiously entangled and oppressed states in Europe hundreds of years ago for a new land where all people could worship God in their own way and share their deeply held and personal beliefs without fear of reprisal from the civil authorities. And yet, in fact, freedom is more than just a civil liberty. Freedom is not just a matter of speech in a public square or a peaceful assembly of like-minded citizens. Freedom is more than just a right to bear arms or establish a religion. Freedom is actually a key to life itself. Freedom is what separates and defines you as an individual to love and be loved. Freedom is what gives you the opportunity to receive every blessing that God has in store for you. Freedom is as core to your identity and purpose as a human being as a heartbeat is to your ability to survive.
In this sense, the founders of our country were right when they observed:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” – The Declaration of Independence
Your creator made you to be free. And what is amazing is that if and when you find yourself enslaved to wrong thinking or poor choices, when you have exercised your freedom in such a way that you find yourself caught in a trap of your own making or frustrated by an obstacle that the enemy has built in your path, God offers you a reset button. You can be born again. You can be set free, not by an act of law or a change of external circumstance, but by an inner act of God — a renewal of the purpose for which you were created, to rejoice in the experience of the freedom that God offers all people. You have the power of the choice. You have the ability to let go of the past, put aside your assumptions, preconceptions, expectations, and prejudice and open your heart to God and say “I am yours. Save me.”
So many choices are destructive of freedom. So many decisions lead away from blessing, prosperity, abundance, peace, satisfaction, fulfillment, and success. You know the decisions I’m talking about. You’ve been there — caught by the enemy either by ignorance or by preference and looking to find your way back to higher ground. God understands. God does not condemn you. God is ready to set you free. There is however, one challenge between you and your ultimate destiny — the truth.
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Pilate famously asked Jesus in His final trial, “What is truth?”
The truth is the objective reality. Not tainted by opinion or perspective. Reality, the way God sees it — pure and simple.
And it is this reality, the actual reality — the truth — that sets you free.
Who are you? A child of God.
What’s your purpose? To receive in abundance every blessing that God has promised.
Where are you going? To accomplish something with my life. To make a difference. To make the world a better place because I have lived in it. To accept the opportunity to live an eternal life.
Who can show you the way? Jesus Christ, my God and Savior.
There are many voices which are telling you that life is more complicated or that what you have in front of you is too hard because of everything that you have been through. These voices are coming from the enemy. Turn them off. Find the voices that are encouraging you to rise higher, press onward, and become everything that God created you to be. Find the voices that believe that you can more than what you were. Find the voices who inspire you to reach out and make a difference in some else’s life today.
You are free. What are you going to do about it?
One of my favorite moments on film is Andrew Shepard’s speech toward the end of The American President:
“America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You’ve gotta want it bad. ’Cause it’s going to put up a fight. It’s gonna say, ‘You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who is standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land is the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest.’ Now, show me that. Defend that. Celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.“
God is challenging you to use your freedom not as an opportunity to compel others to believe as you do, or control or censor or silence others who disagree with you. God is offering you freedom as a commission to share the good news that all people can be free in Jesus Christ. God is asking you to use your influence and your relationships to help others discover the freedom that God is offering them.
Freedom from sickness. Freedom from disease. Freedom from poverty. Freedom from ignorance. Freedom from hunger. Freedom from lack. Freedom from defeat. Freedom from depression, anger, fear, doubt, greed, betrayal, and every other attack of the enemy.
God has created all people to be free. Freedom is your inheritance. Freedom is your destiny. Freedom is your God given right. Freedom is at the very heart of salvation. Freedom is at the very heart of what it means to be human not just for you, but for all people. Freedom is calling.
All you have to do is open your heart to God today, get ready to embrace the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and say “I am yours God. Save me.”