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The True Meaning of Freedom

Hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th this week, filled with friends, family, and fireworks.
However, there is another word that begins with ‘f’ that gets thrown around this time of year – the word FREEDOM.

You hear it as the reason that America’s founding fathers revolted against England over 200 years ago. You hear it as the reason that American soldiers have fought and died. You may have heard it in prayers prayed in churches this weekend, as worship leaders thanked God for the ‘freedoms we enjoy in this country’. It’s a word that has taken on even more significance of late in light of the ongoing ‘Arab Spring’ that is unfolding in the Middle East.

But what does this word ‘freedom’ really mean? If you were to ask many people today, they most likely would say that freedom is the right to pursue whatever it is that makes one happy, with as little interference from others as possible. But is this all there is to freedom? The right to a day off to grill brats in a nice corner of the local park were I won’t be bothered by loud stereos or ‘those kids’ playing Frisbee?

When Jesus says to his followers, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8. 32) or when the Apostle Paul says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Gal. 5.1), they have something deeper in mind. Jesus death and resurrection would free us from the enslaving powers of sin. By setting us free, Jesus enables us to live differently from the selfish, oppressive and unjust ways we see all around us. True freedom means to live – not for the pursue of ones personal pleasure- but according to the revolutionary values of the Kingdom of God: caring for the needy, loving our enemies, feeding the hungry, working for justice, and helping people find their way back to God. Because as we do these things, we find that we are functioning as originally designed. In other words, we a ‘free’ to be fully human again and to once more reflect God’s loving character to the world around us (Gen. 1. 27).

So as we hear people this week speaking of ‘freedom’, let it remind us of the true meaning of that word and let it spur us on – by God’s grace-to reflect to those around us what freedom truly looks like in action.

See You Sunday,

Pastor Mark

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