By Carol Round, Special to ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)
GROVE, OK (ANS – July 3, 2016) — “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” — John 8:32 (TLB).
Do you consider yourself free? I guess it depends on your definition of freedom.
Dictionary.com offers these seven definitions (noun):
1) The state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint: He won his freedom after a retrial.
2) Exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
3) The power to determine action without restraint.
4) Political or national independence.
5) Personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery: a slave who bought his freedom.
6) Exemption from the presence of anything specified (usually followed by from): freedom from fear.
7) The absence of or release from ties, obligations, etc.
The very word “freedom” resonates with so many, especially with Americans who will be celebrating our nation’s independence this weekend. For those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord, the same word denotes a more powerful meaning.
Almost 15 years ago, I discovered that Jesus loved and wanted a personal relationship with me. When I did, I found a freedom no man can take away. Before that day, I lived in bondage to other people’s opinions of me. I wasn’t free. Although I wasn’t confined behind the physical bars of a jail cell, I was still a prisoner.
2 Corinthians 3:17 tells us, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
Finding freedom in Christ means we make different choices in life, choices that glorify Him, instead of catering to our own selfishness or to the whims of others. Pastor John Piper describes it this way: “You are fully free when you have the desire, the ability, and the opportunity to do what will leave you with no regrets forever.”
He explains, “If you don’t have the desire to do a thing, you are not fully free to do it. Oh, you may muster the will power to do what you don’t want to do, but nobody calls that full freedom…. And if you have the desire to do something, but no ability to do it, you are not free to do it. And if you have the desire and the ability to do something, but no opportunity to do it, you are not free to do it. And if you have the desire to do something, and the ability to do it, and the opportunity to do it, but it destroys you in the end, you are not fully free—not free indeed.”
In Romans 6, Paul writes that we are all slaves—either slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness. If we are slaves to sin, we cannot free ourselves from it. However, once we are freed from the penalty and power of sin through Jesus’ death on the cross, we become a different kind of slave. And, it’s in that slavery that we find complete peace and true freedom.
Thomas Watson, an English, non-conformist, Puritan preacher and author once said, “To serve God, to love God, to enjoy God, is the sweetest freedom in the world.”
Have you discovered the sweetest freedom in the world?
Photo captions: 1) Freedom in Christ. 2) Carol Round.
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