Episode 2 : Freedom
Happy Independence Day! While many Americans are celebrating our nation's freedom from a tyrannical king all those years ago, the sad truth is that most aren't truly free. They struggle day in and day out with situations, feelings, and circumstances that continue to keep them captive. True and lasting freedom on a personal level isn't a pipe dream...
So many people are captive to conditions. They're slaves to situations. They're frozen by feelings. Something in their life is holding them back. That thing is keeping them in bondage. Addiction to drugs, alcohol, pornography, work, the need for acceptance... fear and anxiety... depression... hate... prejudice... unforgiveness... the memory of some terrible thing that happened to them or a loved one... it could be just about anything. That thing has become a master over them. It is keeping them captive.
Rather than enjoying life to the full, they're bound by this overlord. It may or may not always be there in the forefront of their mind - but it's always there. And when it rears it's ugly head - even in the smallest way - that poor soul is forced back into their cage and into the chains that bind them. While in actuality their body may not be bound, their spirit and their soul are imprisoned.
That doesn't have to be the case. It shouldn't be. Jesus came to provide liberty for the captive and set the oppressed free (Luke 4:18). He came and sacrificed Himself so that we can live in true freedom. Where He is, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17). It's not a partial freedom. He doesn't liberate us from some things and not others. If He has set you free, you are truly free (John 8:36).
So what's the answer? He is. If you seek Him and His Word, you can walk in liberty (Psalm 119:45). God's Word is truth (John 17:17). Jesus is the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14). Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). Our freedom is only found in Him. It can only be found in and based on the Word. It's not automatic. It doesn't just happen. Can it? Yes. Has it? Yes. I've heard stories of drunks or addicts that got saved and had zero desire for those things anymore. Mean, hateful, foul-mouthed folks that were completely changed into kind, loving, encouraging people immediately after they turned their lives over to Jesus. But that's not always the case.
While God's gift of salvation - His gift of liberty is free to you and to me, it came at a cost. A huge price was paid for it. Jesus was beaten, mocked, ridiculed, tortured, and died on the cross for it. Then He spent three days in hell to make sure it was thoroughly complete. He did it because He loves me. Because He loves you. He wants you to walk in true freedom. Once you accept a gift, what do you do next? You open it up to see what's inside! God's Word - His promises - are what's wrapped up in the gift of salvation. If you don't know what those promises are, how can you accept them, believe Him for them, and expect to see the results they create?
You have to get in the Word. You have to know what God has said and/or promised regarding your situation. Prisoner to fear, anxiety, depression, or something like that? See what God says about it. Addicted to something? Read what the Word has to say. No matter what overlord is keeping you in bondage - no matter what jailer is trying to keep you captive, abide in the Word. Know the Truth. Not just intellectually but deep down inside of you. Know it in your heart. Then the truth will make you free (John 8:32). Then put it behind you and don't fall into that bondage again (Galatians 5:1). If you need help, ask the Lord for help. Ask a friend for help.
Don't go back to the chains of your bondage just because they're familiar. Don't return to captivity because that's what you know. Freedom is worth the change. Liberty in Jesus is worth it all. He didn't serve as a sacrifice for you in vain. Be free, my friend.
Practice the love of God.