The Truth About Freedom

“I am William Wallace!” the legendary leader shouted to his Scottish brethren in the movie Braveheart. After resisting the repeated attacks of the tyrannical English King Edward the Longshanks, the men were ready to give up.

“And I see a whole army of my countrymen, here in defiance of tyranny. You’ve come to fight as free men…and free men you are. What will you do with that freedom? Will you fight?”

“Fight?” a wearied warrior countered. “Against that? No! We will run. And we will live.”

“Aye, fight and you may die,” their mythical leader replied. “Run, and you’ll live…at least a while.

“And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin’ to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take…OUR FREEDOM!”

Is Freedom Just Another Four Letter Word?

This Wednesday, Americans celebrate Independence Day, the day when our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It’s a day we celebrate freedom from British rule. (Isn’t it ironic that today, the British are our closest allies?)

Freedom is a core value in the Western world. It’s also those most overused, misunderstood word in the English language.

Years ago, a chain of convenience stores posted the word “freedom” in big letters over their soft drink machines. They celebrated the “freedom” customers enjoyed in choosing from a half dozen different soft drinks.

For this William Wallace and the forefathers of countries around the world died? For this our founding American forefathers risked their lives?

Of course not. People in totalitarian countries assuredly enjoy the option of different soft drinks. But it begs the question: What is the purpose of freedom, and how can we attain it?

The True Purpose Of Freedom

“You, my brothers, were called to be free,” Paul wrote in Galatians 5:13, which sounds like something William Wallace would say.

Our freedoms allow us to make choices that people in previous generations didn’t enjoy. We can worship as we choose, marry whomever we choose, pursue any profession that we choose, and voice our dissatisfaction with our government without fear of retribution. But freedom can be a mixed blessing—just ask people from newly freed countries. Since winning their freedom, Russia has become thoroughly entrenched in corruption and overrun by the mafia.

Our freedoms allow us to surf porn, pick up sexually transmitted diseases, and gamble ourselves into bankruptcy and personal ruin. Extreme examples to be sure—but the possibility to live without restraints is definitely one of the pillars of freedom.

Paul though, continues his thought: “But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature.”

Then he compares the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit. Sexual immorality, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, appear on the list of vices (see Galatians 5:19-21).

Is freedom the right to indulge in any of these vices? Technically speaking, yes. But what if these “vices” are truly vices? If so, then they really represent bondage–the opposite of freedom.

The Deeper Freedom Is The Freedom To Be Who You Truly Are

Paul was a addressing a deeper freedom. Not a freedom to indulge these practices, but a from them. A freedom to be who we really are. A freedom to be the men and women God had in mind before he created the heavens and the earth.

You see, when we give our lives to Jesus, our sins are forgiven and we become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). The deepest part of us is no longer us but Christ.

Take a look at the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are all the character traits of Jesus. When he becomes the deepest part of us, they become the deepest part of us as well. But they need to be freed.

Previously, our sinful nature gravitated toward Paul’s list of vices. We couldn’t help ourselves. We may think we’re free, but we’re not. Yet Paul says that the Christian has been unchained. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free,” he wrote in verse 1.

If you have given your life to Jesus, the truest part of you is the fruit of the Spirit, and not the works of the flesh.

Believe it.

Please Join Me In A Conversation!

How does it feel to know that the truest part of you gravitates toward the fruit of the Spirit and not the works of the flesh?

What helps you believe it? What prevents you from believing it?

Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado with Eugene Scott. If you or somebody you know is struggling with bondage to a sexual addiction, he highly recommends a book he helped Michael John Cusick write. The newly-released book is entitled “Surfing For God.”

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15 Comments

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15 responses to “The Truth About Freedom

  1. Elna

    In Luke 8:35 ‘sound mind’ means to have ‘self-control’, and that is what Jesus gives us.One of the main issues with satanism and other sins like porn, alcoholism, drug -abuse , etc is that you do not have control over your self…but your addiction has that control.
    Through Jesus we are freed from the slavery of sin and then we have a choice, the self-control, of choosing for God or against him. we can choose to be a bond-servant for God…because it’s the best place for us to be… God never forces us and binds us up but always gives us a choice..everyday of our lives! True freedom 🙂

    • So true, Elna. What we think is freedom is a clever disguise for bondage. Do you think that self-control can bring us bondage as well? At what point do we yield control to the Holy Spirit, and what does that look like?

      It’s good to hear from you!

      • Elna

        I don’t think the danger lies so much in the ‘self’ as in the ‘control’ aspect. So many times we tend to use our idea of self-control as a way of controlling other people. In Gen 1:28 God gives man control/reign over the earth , plants and animals…but…NEVER OVER OTHER PEOPLE. When I am using self-control is it control over myself, or am I using my actions as a way of manipulating other people to do what I want them to do? One of the best examples of this is anorexia… the sufferers has the most awesome self-control..denying themselves the most fundamental things of life…food. But…the strongest ability they have is their ability to manipulate and control the people around them. The same happens with alcoholism and drug abuse.
        At what point do we yield control to the Holy Spirit, and what does it look like?…When we admit that God …alone… has all the power and the might and the glory…and He alone is God. When I assume ‘control’ and try to manipulate other people I move into the realm of God and try to acquire His power and His glory…I see myself then as a little god in my own right… I commit the third sin of Adam… that I can also be a little god.
        (This has been a a difficult post to write and please forgive me if I hurt anyone)

      • Wow! What great insights, Elna. Interestingly enough, that sense of “self-control” actually becomes a clever disguise for bondage. Yielding to the Spirit requires that we yield control all control to him. A scary, exhilarating thought.

      • Georgie-ann

        reading Elna’s comment made me think of how much lust is an underlying and motivating current that seeks to control and “feed on” others,… and why it’s so dangerous to get drawn into its aura/realm,…

        John 8:36 “If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

      • Georgie-ann

        … and if we make a conscious and intentional effort NOT to be controlling of another’s choices/life/decisions, etc., it can be a very interesting way of seeing how automatically we sometimes do get on that (often emotional) bandwagon anyway, without even realizing it!,…

        Matthew 7:1,2
        1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”

        thinking along in this vein,… perhaps we can only truly “possess (and live in) our own freedom” when we’re willing and able to grant it to others,…

  2. Georgie-ann

    Real freedom is a spiritual issue,… as you are saying,… freedom from the devil’s bondage, which leads us to sin and blindness, debauchery, excess and cruelty,… a living death and then a dead death,… this kind of “freedom” to be indulged in without restraints is “license”,… a lack of dignity, love and self-control, and therefore diametrically opposed to the fruits of the spirit,…

    Christ came and died to bring us the opportunity to be spiritually free,… it’s a much better choice,…

  3. JP Moyer MD

    I watchedtwo very well done documentaries about “freedom,” Jewish children’s lives, and a period of history from 1936 to 1945. The Hidden Child tells the story of a Holocaust survivor, sheltered in her native Holland by Christian families. The Children of Chabannes recounts a school in France that kept nearly 400 children from the transports to gas chambers and death camps. The children were extremely fearful of the danger going on all around them, the police raids, the close calls, but they made it to be ultimately free of a death sentence. It was worth it as you will see as they gathered for a reunion in 1996, all in their late 70’s and 80’s alive and well to “catch up” with t6heir fellow “colleagues” from years ago. They celebrated their lives, occupations, grandchildren, and freedom from persecution.

  4. Georgie-ann

    Just being born into this life, is a 100% guarantee that satan is going to do everything he can to seduce us and oppress us, both inwardly and outwardly,… outwardly, through interpersonal friction and negativity, power/control issues, jealousy, lies, competition, on governmental/national levels and with those right next door as well,… The less people are influenced by God/Christ, the harder it is for them to find/make peace with one another,…

    Inward slavery to satan’s influence, is not possible to escape without God’s help,… personal negativity in the forms of depression, hatred, greed, despair, leaves its victims feeling used up, empty and powerless,… seduction in various forms chains its victims to useless depleting activities and substances, introducing poisonous influences, both spiritual (i.e., demonic) and chemical (harmful toxic substances),…

    This is why the Gospel is considered to be “Good News”,… not only the power of the Truth of God’s Words, — righteous teaching, laws, advice, counsel, — and the strength of His incorrupt Kingdom principles,… but also, the message and invitation to us of belonging to His Kingdom, His family, and the offer of the blessing of His protective Love and Fatherhood to cover us,… all of these are beneficial aspects of choosing to be an active, believing, participating, obedient member of God’s family,… we are offered the opportunity to get there through Christ,…

    John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'”

    The two kingdoms are actually mutually exclusive,… even though many may believe they can “get away” with compromise, and are confused by the world’s mixed messages, it will not play out that way forever:

    Genesis 6:3 “And the LORD said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.'”

    James 1:5-8
    5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

    Joshua 24:15 “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

    The best and wisest decision.

  5. Georgie-ann

    since I’m here on this site at the moment, I’ll hazard a take on the self-control question,…

    I think one general benefit that may simply “happen” with the blessing of receiving the Holy Spirit, is that appetites may be changed,… perhaps different things “look good” to us, and perhaps also we can appreciate things in a way that is not so possessive and consuming, and where “less is more,”…

    The other edgier thing that I have noticed, is the ability to actually say “no” to an impulse/resist a desire that’s actually drawing on us a little bit,… that’s actually not as easy,… but the “good feeling” that comes from making that choice and allowing the “no” to happen, is a significant sign that God is helping us in this way and approves,… this isn’t forced, but we feel stronger in our spiritual being,…

  6. Georgie-ann

    I personally appreciate the freedom to pray and then follow the leading(s) I get in my own heart and mind,… or working with people who are respectful about these things, at least enough to inquire if I’m in agreement with their plans and ideas, and vice versa,… Every once in awhile, we get forceful “new” people on the scene, who are all too ready to dictate their opinions to every one else,… I’ve had to learn to deal more pointedly with such inappropriate attitudes,… it wasn’t easy at first,… our freedoms aren’t free,… they must be recognized, appreciated, and protected,…

  7. Georgie-ann

    Isaiah 53:5 ” … He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”

    Isaiah prophesied of Christ, the Messiah, in this way,… since the fall, mankind has been in continual need of salvation, healing and deliverance,… Jesus Christ has opened and provided the Way,… our sure path to freedom, healing and wholeness,…

    most of us, in this culture, don’t realize how many lies we (have) believe(d),… or how much we need God and Truth,… in my experience, healing begins from the inside out,… by receiving Christ, and allowing Him to begin work from within,… establishing a new spiritual basis for our true freedom, our “new Life” in Christ, in synch with God’s Will,…

    John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”

    Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

    Jesus invites us all:

    Matthew 11:28,29
    28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

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