We often think of freedom as the ability to do what we want, when we want, how we want. We believe freedom is having the means and opportunity to do whatever comes into our minds and hearts.
Yet freedom requires rules or the result is nothing more than anarchy. We are free in America, but we must pay taxes, follow traffic rules, and obey a multitude of laws or we face the consequences. True freedom, then, isn’t life without rules, but life lived within protective boundaries.
The same holds true for our freedom in Christ. With one huge exception. The law judges only our actions with little regard for the intent of our hearts. Jesus loves us and He knows our hearts. He doesn’t judge simply based on our actions, but on the state of our hearts.
This gives us greater freedom and responsibility. When we make a mistake and return to Him, He’s quick to forgive. But when our hearts are far from Him, His Spirit is there to convict us … even if we have done nothing “wrong” from a legalistic standpoint.
“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.”
1 Corinthians 10:23
As followers of Christ, we have access to more freedom than anyone else on the planet! Our freedom is best used within the bounds of God’s Word and God’s will. When we step outside these boundaries, the Holy Spirit will convict us and draw us back toward God’s purpose.
Life is like climbing a mountain. We can strike out on our own and free climb or we can follow a Guide and be anchored to Him. Going it alone sounds tempting and exciting until we realize the poor choices we’ve made have become a yoke that we can’t throw off.
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened by a yoke of slavery.”
There are still sins I struggle with regularly. I feel the yoke plunk down on my shoulders every time I lose my temper or act selfishly. Thank God for His continual forgiveness as He lifts the yoke, pats me on the back, and says, “Let’s try again. This time stay close to Me.”
God replaces the restrictive yoke of guilt and shame with a safety harness anchored to Jesus. We become tethered to the Rock much like a mountain climber scaling Everest. The lifeline connects us to Christ and breaks our fall when we slip. It allows freedom while providing security and, yes, limitations. We can only go so far before we feel tension in the harness warning us we’re wandering too far from our anchor point.
That tension serves as a reminder that our Good Guide is leading us on the best path to the top. The scenic overlook we are aiming for may look inviting, but the path is treacherous and the fall deadly. This tension brings us to a point of decision. Do we stay connected to Jesus, trusting that the narrow trail He’s asking us to walk up is best? Or do we disconnect and chase the tempting views that promise “freedom” if we just wander a little farther off the path?
What is true freedom? Is it being untethered and wild? Or is it being connected and engaged in an adventure with someone whose goal is to see you arrive successfully at the top of the mountain?
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are the offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved by anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
If you feel stuck and yoked to your sins or past hardships, follow Jesus to freedom. He hasn’t left you and your Good Guide is there, dropping a lifeline to you right now. Hook on, look up, and follow Him as He lifts you out of the pit and removes the yoke from your shoulders. It won’t be easy, you will have to fight for it. You won’t be fighting alone. Jesus is with you.
Keep fighting for your freedom and let the Son set you free.
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I want to follow Jesus! How do I get started?
“This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.
1 John 4:13-15
If you are ready to join the family of God, simply believe and ask. You can choose your own words or pray the prayer below. God hears your heart, simply confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and let the Spirit lead you.
“Father, I want to be yours. Forgive me of my sins. I believe that you sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die in my place. I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and thank you for the gift of salvation through Him. I invite the Holy Spirit into my heart and surrender my life to You. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Feel free to spend time just talking to God and sharing your heart with Him. Let Him speak to you and listen as He leads you forward into new life. Welcome to the family.
Need to talk or have questions? Feel free to reach out and contact me.