July is the month that America celebrates its freedom. This is the month we chose to declare our independence and become the nation that we felt would not be possible under the rule of an overseas monarch. This year, especially, the idea and concept of true freedom has resonated with me as our world changes rapidly and freedom seems to be a question mark rather than a sure thing.
As I begin to think about the substance of freedom, I realized that though I can lose privileges, I can lose options, I can lose rights or preference I can never lose my freedom. My freedom doesn’t come from outside it comes from inside. This is true of me, and any other Christian who has Jesus in their heart and knows they belong as a child of God.
My outside surroundings may continue to change. Someday, I may even be confined against my will. But still, I am free. Those who the Son sets free are free indeed. This is a paraphrase of John 8:36 and is the word of Jesus himself. My freedom isn’t gifted to me by my state, my local county, my nation’s leader. My freedom isn’t negotiable- able to be pulled back at a whim, a change in political tide or thinking. My freedom is permanent, bought at a price and gifted to me by God.
Knowing that all of this is true how does this apply to daily living? How can I live today knowing that my freedom is an inner state and outside I may have no freedom at all? I always, and only can control myself. My heart, my mind, my faith and the attitudes and choices I make are always mine. When I’m pressed I can choose bitterness and hate, or love and hope. When I know that my true things of value are spiritual, heavenly, and can never be taken from me I have total freedom. I can choose how to handle the hardship that may come my way.
If I believe that the only things I have of value are safe, spiritual and waiting in heaven then why should I live in fear? In a very real way, the outside circumstances may continue to change for the worse. I may lose some of my current earthly choices. I may not be free to come or go as I please. I may not be free to buy the things I used to or would like to. I may not be allowed to go places I was allowed to go before. However, I am still free.
Even if my very physical life is taken away from me. If I can’t see my family, friends, loved ones anymore. Still, I am free. My living breathing body is temporary. I have an eternal, glorified and heavenly home waiting. Nothing that can be removed from me for a time or a season won’t be returned to me fully.
Whom the Son sets free is free indeed.