“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”—Galatians 5:1 (NIV).
To most Americans, the word freedom connotes images of the American flag. We associate July 4 with the freedoms we’ve been granted by the U.S. Constitution. We celebrate our country’s independence with fireworks and parades.
According to dictionary.com, freedom means “the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint.”
Physical freedom is denied those locked behind prison walls. But those who have discovered a relationship with Jesus while in prison will tell you they are, indeed, now free, in spite of the iron bars they peer through each day.
Only Christ can set us free.
Found throughout the Bible, the word, “freedom,” is familiar to those who’ve read God’s Holy Word. John 8:32 says, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
In an article by Roger Olson, he writes, “Unfortunately, two very different ideas of freedom get confused in many people’s minds. The biblical idea of freedom is different from, but easily confused with, the cultural value of the same name. And neither one is the same as “free will.” It can be confusing to the average Christian who wants to know what “real freedom” is. Is it having choices? Is it lack of coercion and constraint? Is it being able to do whatever you want? In what sense does Christ set us free, and how is that different from what Madison Avenue and Hollywood promise?
The Indian Express
When I was in sixth grade, I was diagnosed with myopia or nearsightedness, meaning I had the ability to see near objects more clearly than distant objects. To compound the diagnosis, I also had astigmatism, an imperfection of the cornea preventing part of it from focusing light onto the retina.
At 10-years-old, I was fitted for glasses. Because my eyesight was so bad, the lens in my glasses were thick in appearance, almost like the bottom of the classic soda pop bottle. As usual, children forced to wear glasses earn the nickname, “Four Eyes.” I was no exception. I admit, it hurt at the time.
When I reached high school, my vanity led me to ditch the glasses out in public. My parents wouldn’t buy contacts until I graduated and headed to college. I put up with the hard lenses in my eyes for three or four years until allergies made me forgo them. I returned to glasses.
During the next three or four decades I tried contacts again, this time the soft ones. Again, allergies made me miserable and the contacts were uncomfortable. Finally, I decided to stick with glasses. By this time, the material used for lenses had improved. Although I still needed a strong prescription, the lenses were thinner. I no longer looked as if I were sporting pop bottle bottoms in my frames. I actually looked forward to picking out new frames each time I visited my optometrist. It was almost as good as shopping for new shoes.
Gulley-washing rains have plagued parts of the country during the past months, leaving a path of destruction behind in many areas. Lives have been lost and property has been destroyed due to the flooding.
Living close to the lake, I’ve seen the aftermath. My house is on higher ground but some of my neighbors have had to contend with rising water because their homes are lakefront property. One neighbor has even been fishing off his front deck, and a road running in front of his property is no longer passable.
While on my daily walk through the neighborhood, I’ve watched as the rising waters have left the neighborhood lakeside picnic area unusable. The three concrete picnic tables and the large fire pit were swallowed by the rising lake levels.
When the rain abated for a week, the tops of the picnic tables came into view, as did part of the fire pit. The torrential rains returned and they disappeared once again. Now, as the water begins to recede, driftwood debris graces the shoreline. Some of the pieces are beautiful, even with the ugliness left behind.
While I contemplated the mess left behind by the storms, I thought about the trials we face in life. They come and go, just like the lake water levels rising and falling with our capricious weather.
Social media and 24/7 news programs have added a new dimension to the cacophony of voices clamoring for our attention. While there are some advantages to having this access, I am beginning to think they are surpassed by the negative weighing us down and often leading to wrong choices.
As fabricated stories, also called fake news, continue to proliferate on these social sites, it has become more difficult to discern the truth. Although some are outright unbelievable, many will fall for the false information and share it as the truth. Seeking the source of these posts helps if we are wise enough to seek it.
How do we know when to act and when to be still?
Our best source of wisdom is God’s Word. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
Because so much of the world’s wisdom is foolishness (1 Corinthians 3:19), it is imperative, as believers, that we seek His guidance. A recent devotional shared by a friend addressed the fast pace of most of our lives. The writer said, “We find ourselves being driven by rapidly changing circumstances.”