“FREEEEDOOOM” Many of you can hear Mel Gibson’s cry at the end of “Braveheart” just in reading that word. Freedom is something that we all long for. Cowboys long for the freedom of the open range, bikers the open road, sailors the open sea. But I don’t think many of us truly understand what it means to be free. I would suggest that the only real freedom we have is to the freedom to choose that to which we will be bound. Once we have made that choice we are enslaved to the restrictions and boundaries inherent in that choice.
To use my three examples the cowboy is enslaved by the limitations of his horse. He can only go where and as far as the horse can take him. He is enslaved to the feeding and watering of his horse. The biker is enslaved to the road and the availability and resources to purchase gas. He is enslaved to the physics of riding on two wheels. The sailor is restricted to the water and is a slave to the power of the wind and the waves.
At best freedom is the ability to choose what I will be enslaved to.
Galatians 5 makes this very point. “It is for freedom that you have been made free.” Sounds like a riddle but what he’s talking about is the fact that through faith in what Jesus has done for us we are no longer slaves to following the laws of the Old Testament. Jesus did it all for us. But he goes on to say in verse 13 that we shouldn’t use that freedom to serve ourselves. Why not? Because then I become a slave to my own passions and drives and lusts. We have all known self-centered people, and ultimately they will destroy themselves and others.
Instead, verse 13 goes on, serve one another in love. It’s almost counter intuitive. When I choose to use my freedom to become the servant of others is when I truly find what I always imagined freedom would be. That’s the way God designed us to function. Because it’s the way he functions.
“(Jesus) had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death — and the worst kind of death at that: a crucifixion. Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth — even those long ago dead and buried — will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11 MSG)