Oh how many different forms we live with. Enslavement to the body. Are we enslaved to our jobs? How many are enslaved or were enslaved as they lived at home? Our body, jobs, even the house we live in our grew up in were filled with the term or reality of “Do This”. In homes they are chores and/responsibilities, in the workplace they might be deadlines, with our body, as in my present case, get rest and take care of yourself otherwise you will get sick.
I can recall being enslaved by my body. Quarantined from holding my son or daughter and having limited contact with my wife, stuck in the house with a head that is filled more with clouds than with complete thoughts, I fought to be freed. Freedom never looked so good.
Freedom is never more attractive than in it’s absence. It is when we do not have something or recognize the possibility of losing it, that we can appreciate it or even come to cherish it all the more. What is it we are looking to when we talk abotu freedom?
“We have freedom to the degree that the master whom we obey grants it to us in return for our obedience. We do well to choose a master in terms of how much freedom we get for how much obedience.”
As these words from Frederick Buechner flood our mind we come face to face with what freedom is and what it is not. It has it’s limits because, like it or not, we have “Masters“.
Before we knew Christ, our lives were a struggle against “Masters“. These Masters in our lives are seen through our struggles, those struggles that are bigger than ourselves. The world, society, institutions, others, even our own self, all reveal a variety of limitations that we experience and struggle with.
Struggling with a virus that would invade my sinuses, causing me to move slower, and not being able to recognize much of the beauty around me, would be difficult. Yet, I knew, and I had hope that in the days to come I would know the freedom of wellness. Just we struggle during those times when we struggle within our own faith, relish in the fact and knowledge that through Christ we will and do know the freedom of life.
Through Christ, we are led from dreadful struggling to joyful obedience. The clouded thoughts directing our need to push back begin to dissipate, revealing clarity and liberation. Buechner goes on to say,
“To obey the law of the land leaves us our constitutional freedom, but not the freedom to follow our own consciences wherever they lead.
To obey the dictates of our own consciences leaves us freedom from the sense of moral guilt, but not the freedom to gratify our own strongest appetites.
To obey our strongest appetites for drink, sex, power, revenge, or whatever leaves us the freedom of an animal to take what we want when we want it, but not the freedom of a human being to be human.”
The freedom we discover in Christ is not something found in a locked chest or closet, a secret location or wrapped up as a gift. The freedom that is discovered through Christ is a freedom of transformation from within.
“God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” – Galatians 4:4-5
The Freedom we have been offered is that of living in God’s service, which is ultimately “perfect freedom.” While it might seem paradoxical, it’s really not. It means that to obey Love itself, which above all else wishes us well, leaves us the freedom to be the best and gladdest that we have it in us to become. There is really only one freedom that Love denies. Love denies us is the freedom to destroy ourselves ultimately.