You Aren’t As Free As You Think You Are
Something Else Will Master Your Life
My favorite bible verse may be the most generic words uttered in the holy book. “For freedom, you have been set free.” Anyone could have said it but as an American woman who loves her freedom, this verse is a powerful reminder that I, we, everyone, were meant to be free. When I used to have bad days at work or filled stifled in my life at all, I would get in my car, yell out this phrase and listen to something embarrassing.
Can you relate to this at all? American’s hate the feeling that freedom might be taken away. We were meant to be the directors of our lives and no person or government should be able to remove such a gift. Our country works because the freedom that belongs to us, stated in our constitution, is actually just a reflection of the freedom bestowed upon us by the source of all creation, God.
One of the many things that separates humanity from the rest of creation is that God has placed within us a freedom with which to direct our lives. We can choose how and for what we want to live. Christianity teaches that God, who made humanity out of freedom and goodness has given us the ability to choose how to live. He desires that all men choose to live in relationship with Him but we have the ability to choose not to. He desires that we choose to become completely good, but He has given us the choice to move away from that good. A relationship cannot be love unless love is freely chosen and love cannot be freely chosen unless there is a choice against it.
As my husband and I were discussing the nature of free will, we came to the very important distinction between human free will and complete freedom.
I have some bad news.
While we as humans have been given the freedom of choice, we do not possess complete and total freedom.
What do I mean?
We, humans, know that we are incomplete and so we are constantly looking for something to complete us. Whatever we choose to complete us often becomes our choice of worship. Our choice of worship the becomes the ruler of our lives. For instance, if I believe that having the perfect body will complete me, then I will spend all of my extra time attaining it. My time, my money, my thoughts, my security are all now wrapped up in my pursuit of physical fitness. I am not free; physical fitness is my master.
We can apply this to any situation. Is it money? Making and keeping money then become the center of my life. I am no longer free to live in generosity or follow a vocation that may not bring me wealth. Money is now my master.
We are free to choose a master but we are not free to be the master.
So why does this matter? Because some masters are better than others and it is imperative that we are able to distinguish what is worth our worship? What masters are benevolent and which will only make us slaves.
Back to St. Paul. After he said that we have been set free from freedoms sake, he tells us to stand firm and to not submit ourselves again to the yoke of slavery. The only master who can maximize our freedom is the master who is complete freedom. He is the one who made us and gave us the will to choose Him. As unpopular as God is these days, it is only in truly worshipping Him that we can become as free as possible.
The law of the Lord sets us free from the tyranny of all the other masters. The Lord tells us that our body is a temple. He also says that life is more than food and the body more than clothes. In following Him we can learn to treat ourselves with dignity without making our bodies more important than they are. The law of the Lord demands generosity. When we are generous, we are being set free from the idea that money is everything. We were not meant to be attached to materialism, and freely giving of it sets us free from such an idea.
Friend, we were not meant for a life of addictions to small idols. We were meant for so much more. If we choose to worship the Lord who is the only completely free being in the universe, everything else falls into proper place and we are protected from becoming slaves to our idols. Who will you serve?