Why Total Freedom Never Means Absolute Liberty

Thomas E. McDaniels
Nov 15 · 4 min read

Freedom and liberty are not the same

Freedom from something is not liberty to do it again.

We define freedom as; to go about with pleasure. This means you are so free that pleasure is leading you around. Nothing pushing or pulling. Not feeling driven or compelled. Free.

We define liberty as; exempt from obligation. So the difference in liberty and freedom is like a mother being away from her kids. She is free from the kids but her obligation as a mother never goes away. So, she is free from them but not liberated from them.

Freedom and liberty are two different things

Let’s say you have a spiritual experience with God. In that experience, you were set free from the desire to drink or do drugs. This is very possible.

In the experience, you realize you are no longer addicted to drinking. However; freedom from drinking is never permission to drink again.

Freedom from drinking is also never the liberty to continue drinking. Why? Because you have not arrived at the place where you can trust yourself to indulge in the former addiction.

Could one drink trigger my relapse? Yes, that’s possible.

Freedom is never a sign of total liberty

Have you ever met anyone who was set free from bondage and addiction and they went back into the addiction? I have.

Once you are free, you must stand in that freedom.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1, NKJV)

Notice, Christ had set them free. The warning that follows- do not return to what you were once doing.

Don’t go back

Have you ever heard the saying; A dog returns to it’s vomit? This is what it’s like for a drunkard to go back to drinking. Or the meth addict to use again.

A famous Christian comedian was set free from sex addiction. But he began to play around with the addiction again. He had freedom from it, but not liberty. The young comedian took the liberty to indulge in sexual pleasure again.

Taking the liberty he began playing with fire. This led him back into bondage and public failure.

Freedom is God’s job and staying free is yours

Just because you are free from something never means you have the liberty to indulge again.

Some who left addictions behind may never have the liberty to return to the environment, let alone the behavior.

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (I Corinthians 6:12, NKJV)

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.” (I Corinthians 10:23–24, NKJV).

All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful.

The liberty to do something never means it will end well.

Should you drink if you have the freedom and liberty to drink? Most would say; Yes.

And drinking is not sin. Getting drunk is sin. The scripture tells us to not be drunk with wine.

Having the liberty and the freedom to drink or indulge is never permission.

Have you ever heard that one man’s liberty is another man’s bondage?

If liberty makes another person fall into bondage, should you take the liberty? No.

Here’s why…

But take heed, lest by any means this liberty of yours becomes a stumbling block to those who are weak. For if anyone sees you, who have knowledge, eating in the idol’s temple, shall the conscience of him who is weak not be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols, and by your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? When you thus sin against the brothers, wounding their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I cause my brother to stumble.” (I Corinthians 8:8–13, NKJV)

This passage is talking about food. But the discussion is about disputable matters. Food, drinking, movies, dancing, are just a few matters that are disputable. They also cause spiritual disputes.

Notice the weak brother or sister cannot handle the overindulgence of the stronger brother or sister. So the scripture tells us to refrain. Many dislike or disagree with this principle.

But let’s say it’s your son or daughter. Does that change the scenario? Maybe.

Would you refrain from certain indulgence if you thought it would keep your child from entertaining the liberty? You would refrain. Right?

Do you see how the freedom to indulge is not always the liberty to do so?

I hope you do.


Thank you for reading this post. You can find additional articles on my website.

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Thomas E. McDaniels

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Aspiring writer and the guy behind thomasmcdaniels.com. Former writer for ChurchLeaders.com and currently write OP-Eds for Fox News. I truly enjoy Medium.com

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Discover tomorrow’s bestsellers today. You'll say you knew them when.