Do you know what it means to be free?
A few years ago, I wrote a poem, which then turned into a song. It was called “Be Free”. The verse repeated the above question over and over again.
Do you know what it means to be free?
The better question, I believe, would be, “Do I know what it means to be free?”
The inquirer does not always know the answer of the question which she asks.
What does it mean to be free? Or, rather, what is freedom?
I don’t fully know. God is still teaching me.
With every supernatural, condescending, uninvited intervention from our Heavenly Father of lights, that His mighty hand might forcefully separate me from my favorite sins, the Lord reveals to me more and more of the nature and beauty of gospel freedom. He is both the author and the source of freedom; we cannot grasp it apart from Him.
Here are a few wisdoms I cling to these days.
- Freedom is free.
“It was for this freedom that Christ set us free [completely liberating us]; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery [which you once removed].”
Galatians 5:1 AMP
So many of us stay in slavery because we refuse to receive the free gift of freedom. Despite all of our desperate attempts to downplay our sin, or to destroy its destructive evidence, or to definitively decide that we are done doing that thing, we stay stuck. We stay bound. But Christ died to set us free for this freedom.
What is this freedom that Christ died for? This freedom is the gospel. This freedom is rest. This freedom is the freedom from measuring our morality by the law, and instead, to receive free righteousness. This freedom releases supernatural power and blessings as we weave the gospel through the vast threads of life’s tapestry. This freedom is the cataclysmic connection that comes from a union of heart, mind, soul, and strength to love the Lord your God with all that you are, knowing that the work of making ourselves worthy has already been done.
The best part? This freedom is free.
2. Freedom frees.
“For you, my brothers, were called to freedom; only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the [e]sinful nature (worldliness, selfishness), but through [f]love serve and seek the best for one another.”
Freedom frees us from sin. Freedom does not free us to sin.
Furthermore, freedom is both the journey and the destination. Once we receive the revelation by faith that freedom is free, and we begin to walk in this gospel freedom, chains simply fall. Why? That we may be free to free those around us. But if we do not understand the outward-focus of freedom, our flesh will warp it to keep us enslaved in selfishness.
True freedom is both for us, and for others. Jesus is our perfect example in this truth: he surrendered His freedom to fight for ours. He used his freedom to serve and seek the best for his brothers and sisters – us. And He left us His spirit to transform us into His image.
3. Freedom teaches.
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
Once we receive the free freedom of the gospel, and once we begin to understand the implications of this freedom on the lives of those around us, we see that this freedom can only come through our teacher, our counselor – the Holy Spirit. Without His guidance, we will get it wrong. We will become prideful in our newfound ability to say “no” to sin. Or, we will wrongly interpret righteousness, and instead, use it as an an excuse to sin.
But freedom is bigger than that.
Freedom wants to grant us new eyesight, new standards, a new scope of reality. Freedom redefines our reasons for living, breathing, sacrificing, waiting, praying. By the power of the Spirit, freedom teaches us about ourselves, about our God, about and His word.
For where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.