By Beth Winze
Happy 4th of July! I love the 4th because of all the hoop-la and excitement that it brings! For me, it also brings a time of reflection on the word freedom. The more I grow and the wiser (at least my hopes of being wiser) I become, I find myself cherishing freedom more and more. The definition of freedom has significantly changed for me over the years. I appreciate the fluidity within the word and hearing how people define freedom for themselves. While my personal definition of freedom takes on a multitude of characteristics depending on the context, I want to focus for a few minutes on freedom in Christ.
For the longest time growing up, I struggled to understand the use of “freedom” and “Christianity” in the same sentence. For me, those seemed like polar opposite terms. Christianity was a set of do’s and don’ts that you had to follow…or else. The spiritual emphasis of freedom and it’s true meaning evaded me for years.
I mentor two young ladies, who graciously allow me to speak into their lives. I could talk for hours about the impact they have made in my personal faith, more than I could ever hope to do in theirs’. For sake of word count in this post, I will refrain from that discussion for now. Currently in our group we are going through Rebekah Lyons book “You Are Free”. When asking the ladies what topics they wanted to cover, I threw in this title having read previous works by the author, but really not thinking too much about the impact of discussing freedom in faith. We are now five chapters in, and I cannot even begin to accurately explain the amount of clarity and revelations I’ve encountered thus far.
The first few chapters instigated insightful reflection into the personal burdens of our own life. After reading, reflecting and discussing with the other two ladies, we all came to an easy conclusion that we have become accustomed to the weight of our struggles and burdens, resulting in our justification of the unnecessary baggage. We willingly allow ourselves to continue to carry around things Christ never intended for us to carry around. We permit these burdens to actively hold us back from living a truly free life in Christ.
The other key point that we have decided was too important not to actively discuss every time we meet, is living in the freedom Christ has already given us. I think Christians work under the pretense that freedom has to be earned. “I can’t do this until I do that.” It’s like God handing over a never ending chore list of things to complete before we head out with friends. I strongly believe that freedom is a choice. We have to daily wake up and decide to live in Christ’s freedom the cross rendered us. When we choose not to accept the freedom already there and continue to carry our burdens, we devalue the cross as not enough for us. John 8:36 so clearly tells us about the immediate access we have to freedom. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Christ has already broken the chains. It is finished. Slavery is our life sentence no more. All that’s left to do is to live and celebrate daily in our freedom through Him.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. – Galatians 5:13, ESV