First, I am going to start by explaining what Freedom is not. Yes, I know this seems bogus. But, let’s establish some ground rules. A great way to accomplish this is by a story. I do love stories! This is a short one, I promise.
In life we climb ladders of success. This demands a lot of time, money, energy, sacrifices. When you get to the top of your ladder you feel elated! Wow, I have “arrived.” After a short time you start to look around as this view is much better than when you were climbing. That was a “pain in the neck.” Right?
Once at the top of your ladder, wouldn’t it be really sad to look around at the view and realize, “I’m against the wrong wall!” This is where many people find their self and it is almost impossible to go down that ladder. Put it against the correct wall, look up and…start climbing. All. Over. Again.
Now, thinking about this story we want to establish what Freedom is not because working toward a goal of what you “think” Freedom is and then when you believe you have “arrived” and the view is all wrong will cause you major stress and distress. I guarantee it!
So, Freedom is NOT: When I don’t have to deal with “fill in the blank” anymore. We all have different strongholds. Mine is SSA/homosexual desires. And, this is not the only issue in my life…by any means! If my Freedom is based solely upon not seeing any man again and having attractions then I most likely will never have Freedom.
Wait, you are telling me I will have to deal with “fill in the blank” for a long, long time. Maybe even the rest of my life?
Yes. Most likely.
I don’t know how you are feeling at this very moment. Not happy? But wait, wouldn’t you be appreciative if when you very first started climbing your ladder of “success” someone would have told you, “Hey, your ladder is against the wrong wall!” You could have backed up, looked up at the wall and saw it said, “Lawyer” when you really desire to be Veterinarian as you absolutely love animals! Your parents are the ones who want you to be a lawyer. So, instead of climbing this ladder you take off backpacking through Europe and meet a married couple who are retired and are having the time of their life! You share a meal together and learn tons from them. They have children and grandchildren. Crazy fun hobbies. Tons of family and friends. You think, “This is the kind of life I want to have when I retire in thirty or forty years” so you ask them, “What did you do for your jobs?” And they say, “We met in college and had a business together doing what we loved!” Wow, you think that is exactly what I’d like to do. You ask another question, “What business did you have together?” They reply, “We had a veterinary hospital.” You almost fall off your chair! You’re hearing that voice saying, “Are you sure your ladder is against the right wall?” again. And, you go home and start college knowing exactly what you are going to do in life.
Keeping this in mind, we’re going to learn (with a Biblical based worldview as there is no other for a Christian to have!) what Freedom is now.
1. Freedom is Holy Spirit living in you.
II Cor 3:17 tells us, “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
If you are a believer, disciple of Jesus, Christian, then Holy Spirit lives in you. You have Freedom. Where He is there is Freedom. Boom!
But wait, maybe you are thinking, “I have Holy Spirit in me but I still struggle and I’m tempted with “fill in the blank.” So how do I have Freedom?” You have Him helping you choose not to sin. If you don’t have Holy Spirit in you then you may decide some times not to sin. But, eventually, I know you will sin and go deep into sinning. In my life, it is impossible to stay away from the temptation without God’s help! And even then I will sin from time to time.
Freedom is Holy Spirit helping you, you listen and make the right choice. You won’t do this every time by any means. But, if you do your part–you collaborate with Him–you will find yourself making the right choice/not sinning, more and more.
2. Freedom is the Truth.
John 8:32 tells us, “And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
Jesus is Truth. How? He tells us in John 14:6a, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
To know the Truth you must know Jesus. You must know His ways. For me to know Him, first and foremost, I spent years reading and studying the Gospels, the “red letter” words. Here is the best way, I believe, to learn Jesus and learn Truth.
Another powerful verse that I believe supports my understanding of Freedom is James 1:12, “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” This clearly tells us that we are going to be tempted all through life. I know in my journey the temptation with SSA is almost nothing most days. But, there are days when it rears its ugly head and mounts an attack that often drives me to my knees praying, “Jesus, save me from this!”
I put these two verses, II Cor 3:17 and John 8:32 as the two main pillars holding up for me what Freedom is.
Why is this important? Because knowing you have your ladder against the right wall is going to make the climb simpler, not easier. And, when you get to the top you will be able to help others around you who are still climbing their ladder through encouragement and by example, “Hey, I made it to the top so can you!”
Other verses to help you understand Freedom are: Jn 8:36 and Ro 6:7. And, verses explaining what Freedom is not include: Acts 8:23, 1 Cor 10:23, Ro 8:2, Ro 6:16. These are not exhaustive. If you have verses that help you in understanding and living out Freedom please leave a comment as I’d love to expand upon my understanding of Freedom.