Freedom. Do you have it?
Recently my family and I had the privilege of traveling to Moscow, Russia for vacation. If you know anything at all about Russian history, you might know something of its tumultuous past and volatile leadership dating back to the 14th or 15th century and well through the WWII era. Then there was the cold war, the Soviet Union as it was, and the ensuing oppression of its people, still, after having already suffered so much loss and tragedy in the war. We had an incredible tour guide, a lovely Russian lady named Lydia who took us through both Red Square and the Kremlin sharing the minutest details of her country both past and present. Lydia was herself a young girl during the days of the USSR regime. She and her family grew up in a one bedroom, one bathroom flat along with 3 other families! They would alternate the days each family used the bathroom. Still this was luxurious compared to what Lydia’s parents had endured during the war. Lydia recalled with detail how their travel was limited if not made impossible by the government, how their thinking was distorted and manipulated by government ideology, and even their movement around their own city was hampered. As we visited with Lydia and toured her beloved city for hours, the contrast between my upbringing and hers became undeniably obvious to me. Later when Paul and I were alone, we marveled how “In her whole entire life, Lydia had never known freedom in the way we had.” In her whole life, more than 60 years, and she has not tasted freedom like you and I! Needless to say, the spiritual lessons were undeniable. Most of us have enjoyed lives free of political oppression. Most of us. More importantly as Christ followers we have found true freedom in Christ. Freedom from our sin, from a life in bondage to the flesh, freedom from fear. Undiluted, glorious freedom. Galations 5 says It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Yet how often do we allow Satan a stronghold in our lives. Guilt, shame, bitterness, anger, and/or hurt. Even our overcommitted schedules and many of our worldly pursuits hold us in captivity, and prevent us from fully embracing the abundant life with Christ. All of these things can take root in our souls, and when they do, we are no more free than that little girl who grew up in the USSR in a one bedroom flat. Perhaps less so. We live like captives. But indeed Christ has set us free. We should be singing this from the hilltops. The thief has truly come to “steal, kill, and destroy,” but Christ has come to give us life “and to give it abundantly.” Christians of all people should start acting like free persons. We should show the world that we are Christ followers, and our lives have been transformed by the One, the only One who gives us true freedom.
I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed.
Romans 8:20-21 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
2 Cor. 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
Ephesians 3:12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Freedom. Do you have it?