Are we in fact free? I am reminded of The Apostle Paul as he wrote the book of Philippians. He was imprisoned, but more free than many of us could imagine.
We live in a world where we remove boundaries, rules and fences in the name of freedom, and yet we become more restricted in other ways… fear, bondage, debt, oppression, depression, anxiety are just a few that come to mind.
Walls are often there for a reason. We have all sorts of boundaries that have been created for our own safety. Think along the lines of a pool net and how it allows a toddler the freedom to explore without the danger of drowning, the balustrade along the stair case which provides us with something to hold on to, the enclosure around a balcony which allows us the freedom to enjoy the view without the danger of falling.
Rules such as age restrictions and laws governing behavior are often broken with a sense of liberty in mind. One of my favourite quotes by G.K. Chesterton goes like this…
“Whenever you remove any fence, always pause long enough to ask why it was put there in the first place.”
Isn’t it amazing how we tend to rebel against the “No” in spite of every “Yes” that is set before us! God gave Adam and Eve the complete liberty to enjoy every single fruit in the garden, with the exception of one! Satan managed to draw their attention to the one and create a sense of discontentment and desire, and in infringing on that boundary, they lost access to the entire garden!
I believe that it is in much the same way, as we continue to pursue the idea of what the enemy would like for us to believe is freedom, we become more and more imprisoned. As moral walls continue to come down, we see an increased need for security fences and barbed wire, we live like caged animals and yet we call ourselves free!
I think of the feeling of exhilaration that comes in the free falling nature of a bungee jump, the adrenaline rush, the shouts of joy and screeches of delight, all of which, without the security of the rope, would simply mean death.
We need to stay connected. The only real safety rope we have is Jesus.
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.John 15:4
There are many scriptures in the bible that speak of freedom. I was drawn to what is expressed in 1 Peter 2 (click on the link to read what it says in context for a deeper insight). To sum it up though, Peter encourages believers to live as ones who have truly been redeemed – set free from the bondage of evil and sin…
You are free, but still you are God’s servants, and you must not use your freedom as an excuse for doing wrong.1 Peter 2:16
This is the type of freedom that Paul experiences as he is in a prison cell writing to the Philippians. The Joy that only comes from God. The Peace which transcends all understanding. The calm in the midst of the storm. The ability to endure in spite of what the external circumstances may appear to be. Because as believers we are secure in the promises of God, promises that include words such as this:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”John 16:33
A friend shared something with me that really resonated. It is from the book “A Year of Miracles” by Marianne Williamson…
Externally we are exposed, but our minds are something that we can choose to protect.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!Isaiah 26:3
Here’s an awesome song to sing as you rejoice in your Freedom: