For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 6:14 NIV
I just this week learned about a new addiction that took an acquaintance’s life. I won’t even describe it to you; it’s bizarre and doesn’t need publicity. And lest you proudly thank God (as did the Pharisee in the temple) that you are not like other weaker people, take a few moments to reflect on those things that do keep us in bondage.
I knew someone who never stopped making fun of people who were overweight and unable to control their eating while he would have been desperate if you’d emptied his candy jars. And then there’s the guy who won’t come close to an illegal substance, but he can’t seem to break away from work. And one of my friends was witness to a tragic accident when a man was trying to get home in time to watch his team’s kickoff. There are all sorts of activities that, were we wrenched from them, we would be either miserable or feel condemned.
Let’s look at this from another perspective. Do you ever allow yourself the freedom to take a day to rest or reflect, to do nothing productive but to refresh your soul? Would the sky fall if you missed church to help a friend? Could you make it through the week if circumstances kept you from your usual Quiet Time? I love Oswald Chambers’ insight that we are sometimes committed to our devotional habits more than to God. Yes, we all tend to have routines and lifestyles that may hold us in bondage. Jesus baffled everyone because of his total freedom in his Father.
I love Webster’s definition of freedom: the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action. In other words, free people can act or be still, come or go, speak or be silent. There is no coercion. I think it’s what Paul spoke about when he said he could eat or not, was content in all circumstances, could be rich or poor. St. Paul was free in all things; there was no compulsion. In his freedom, he chose to move about when Christ beckoned, but he was also at peace when he was a prisoner of Jesus Christ. All things were his in Christ Jesus; he rejoiced always; he was happy to live or die; he companied with emperors, and he was friends with the destitute. That’s freedom.
Freedom is living in Christ without necessity, coercion, compulsion, or constraint. We live, move, have our being, and are complete in him because of his great love for us and ours for him.
Father, set us free. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.