John 8:34,36- Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin… 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Freedom is multifaceted. National freedom is the emancipation from an oppressive regime. Civil freedom grants civil rights. Economic freedom is the liberation from hunger, poverty, or unemployment. Personal freedom is a deliverance from frustration, failure or lack of fulfillment.
Jesus Christ, the world’s supreme liberator, declared that His mission was “to proclaim release to the captives and to set at liberty the oppressed.” Later in His public ministry, He said that the truth can set one free and that those whom He has set free will be free indeed (cf. John 8:34, 36).
True freedom comes through obedience. True freedom is the exact opposite of what many people think it is. For some, freedom is the ability to do what they want, when they want and however they want. But, in reality, such “freedom” is a bondage to self-centeredness. There is no freedom apart from obedience. Real freedom is available only when we accept the boundaries God has set for us. Take, for example, the fish that was created by God to live and thrive in water. In that very limitation it finds its liberty. Freeways don’t imply traveling without limitations – one cannot drive with scant regard for speed limits or road safety rules.
For the child of God, death to self is the route to ultimate freedom. Galatians 2:20 says that we have been crucified with Christ. The believer is dead to sin but alive in Jesus. Sin is the reversal of God’s order. Matthew 22:37-40 prescribes the order of priority in a person’s life – love God first, one’s neighbor next and then lastly oneself. But, the devil, the world and the flesh lure us to hold onto our rights first and place the things of God last. True freedom is the casting away of this self-centeredness by the power of Jesus’ resurrection.
True freedom comes through surrender. To surrender is to let go and trust God with our lives. Surrendering is central to our journey with Christ. John Ortberg said “The spiritual journey begins with the “Big Surrender.” The Big Surrender involves dethroning ourselves and our smaller gods of control or money or fame or power or lust, and placing Jesus on the throne of our hearts.”
Surrender is the path of freedom, joy, delight, and impact. If you want to find real joy, if you want your life to have a ripple effect on others, then learn to let go and trust God. Paul’s entire doctrine of the Christian life hangs on the truth that we died to sin as the result of surrendering, and yielding to the Holy Spirit.
One who hasn’t surrendered will boast in his strength. But, a fully surrendered person will depend on God for everything. Jesus’ surrender is a response to love, not fear. Jesus said “If you love me obey my commands” – John 14:15. We must surrender our lives to a loving father. But surrender is not always easy – it oftentimes is a struggle.
In the garden of Gethsemane, we see the most beautiful scene of the Son surrendering His will to the Father – this, after asking Him to take away His cup. Through this openness and ultimate trust, Jesus shows us true surrender. Jesus shows us the way of love and trust in a Heavenly Father who is for us, not against us. This trust results in freedom from worries and anxieties. Freedom is yours as long as you keep choosing truth and standing firm in the strength of the Lord.