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True Freedom

Weekly Devotionals

True Freedom

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

– Galatians 5:1

Freedom is a concept that most hold as innate to human flourishing. Being able to make choices autonomously, without coercion or tyranny are pillars of western democratic values. The concept doesn’t simply fly above the world of politics or within the ivory towers of academia alone, as pop culture is littered with symbolism around the spirit of freedom too. Contemporary music, art, film and literature fascinate over the ”freedom to be who you are” and much of our culture has at their foundation ideas around autonomy, human rights and entitlements. For sure, the idea that I can exert my own will to carve my own path, without another power impinging on my “rights” is a powerful thought, as most of us yearn to be self-made individuals. I think about my own background as a child of immigrant parents and I’m proud of the fact that we came from meager circumstances and paved out
our future; all fueled by a strong work ethic, education and tight family responsibilities.

The real irony though, is that the very things we strive for under the guise of freedom often chain us – money, career, prestige and power. Like all human ideas, our concepts of freedom are only a shadow of the truth we find revealed to us in Jesus Christ. Foundations matter and our concepts of freedom, if not anchored to God, will eventually enslave us and spiral us into the very predicament that the Lord has already released us from through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. What we don’t see is that
our elevation of freedom by human standards apart from God has dire consequences. Namely, the impingement of other people’s freedom, as our need for autonomy often causes destruction of someone else’s independence. We sometimes justify ourselves by calling it capitalism or competition, but Scripture calls it sin.

When Jesus becomes our Lord, true freedom for us to be who we were meant to be becomes possible. Human freedom can only be understood under the umbrella of God’s freedom and that freedom is defined primarily in term of his grace and peace uniquely expressed in Jesus Christ. Paul opens the letter of Galatians, as all his letters, with that foundation – “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ…” (Gal. 1:3). He reminds all of us that God freely expressed his grace and love through Jesus, who suffered and died to release us from the slavery of sin and death. Other “lords” can distort our calling to freedom where grace and peace become a reality for our lives. It’s up to us to accept the new reality found in Jesus and accept him as our Lord, where the chains are broken and freedom is received.

The Lord bless you and keep you.