Freedom. The human spirit yearns for freedom. If you think of all the wonderful and terrible things humanity is capable of, you may find they all link back to this desire for freedom. 

For freedom, we will lay down our lives, we will rise above our circumstances, and we will sacrifice so much. To those soldiers who risk their lives for my nation’s freedom, I say thank you. For those who live to serve others and are willing to fight for our constitutional and civic freedoms, thank you. 

Freedom is an amazing gift, something to be protected and, when necessary, fought for. Freedom is God’s plan…for He is the One who gave each of us free will. The right to choose to follow Him or follow our own desires. 

But there is a dark side to the desire for personal freedom. We want to be free to make our own choices, to live however we choose to live, to enjoy “the good life.” For freedom we will work ourselves to exhaustion, justify our bad habits, and excuse our morally questionable decisions. After all, we are just doing what we have to do now so we can enjoy our “freedom” later. 

Taken to extremes, we will use the desire for freedom to justify greed, dishonesty, even hatred. We want more money so we can be free to do whatever, whenever and to buy anything we desire. We will “bend” the rules or overlook the lies that “don’t hurt anyone” so we can gain an extra advantage over someone else, and we will learn to hate anyone who gets in the way of our perceived freedom. 

The desire for this type of freedom is a siren’s song that will cause us to crash upon rocky shores. It leads to bondage and enslaves us to masters of our own making. Bondage to money, bondage to those who discover our misdeeds, bondage to the need to get ahead. This is not freedom, it is obsession with self. And it will destroy you and your relationships because this type of freedom refuses to serve others. It refuses to place their needs over yours if it means that you may lose a bit of that “freedom” you’ve fought so hard to achieve.

But God promises true freedom. A freedom that can’t be taken away and can’t be tarnished by circumstances. God calls us to live in freedom with Him. And He shows us how to use our freedom to serve others.

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead use your freedom to serve one another in love.
Galatians 5:13 NLT

I confess that I have been in danger of falling victim to my own vision of freedom. A vision where I’m my own boss, choose my own work hours, have the time and money to do what I want, when I want. And I am beginning to see the signs of chains on my wrists and ankles. Selfishness takes over as I “protect my time” and fear tells me not to let others take advantage of me. Get what I deserve, don’t let them run over me. 

On their own, these are not bad things, we do need to be mindful of how others treat us and how we treat ourselves. But when it becomes your default response to everyone and everything, you might have a problem…I might have a problem. 

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
2 Corinthians 3:17 NLT

And so I come to you now, confessing that I’m talking to myself in this post. Asking myself to let go of my need for personal freedom because I’ve made that my idol. I’m inviting the Spirit into this situation and asking Him to lead me to freedom.

“Forgive me, Lord, for placing my desire for this false freedom over my desire for You. Help me to submit to You completely and to listen and obey Your Word. Cleanse my heart and help me to serve others in love. Help me to experience true freedom in You and to share that freedom with others.”

I pray that the Holy Spirit would rest upon us all as we navigate life’s challenges. I pray that the love of God would rule in our hearts and minds. I pray that we would all follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ faithfully as He leads us to true freedom.

May the love of Christ spark the flames of freedom and destroy the chains of bondage we’ve placed on our own lives.