I looked down at my street friend’s plate ~mounded up with scrambled eggs, various pieces of ham and toast, smeared entirely with ketchup~ as he talked about how his journey has ended up here. Here, on the streets of H-fax, moving from relationship to relationship, usually depending upon where his drug of choice leads him. “Yeah I had a great relationship with a great lady for 18 years!” he said, shovelling in another mouthful of breakfast. “It really went south though when I got heavier into the crack-pipe. I was just using more and she didn’t want anything to do with it. She gave me an ultimatum. I couldn’t take that, I just wanted my freedom.” “So this is what freedom looks and smells like to you?” I asked.
“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as (other Haligonians) Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.” Eph 4:17
Look around….what does your freedom look and smell like to you?
Is freedom the ability to make your own decisions based upon what you want, when you want it, no matter what or where? Is freedom having no one to answer to for anything you do no matter how it might look, feel or the lasting affects it might have?
“They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous, and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.” Eph. 4:18-19
Often time the kind of freedom we imagine ends up destroying the most important relationships in our life and alienating us from God and others. This sort of freedom wraps heavy weights of guilt, regret, hurt, anger, causing us just to use people and things to escape our present realities. This sort of freedom is NO FREEDOM at all- it leads to addiction, self- loathing, self destruction and a deep loneliness of the soul.
We cannot truly be free unless we are able to destroy the grip of sin and the cost of death in our lives!!
People try to set themselves free by taking on ‘religion’ in order to try and gain freedom from sin or death. But mere religion is nothing more then moralism or legalism. The list of do’s and don’ts whereby I get to pat myself on the back because I am better then you. I believe that is called PRIDE- one of the seven deadly sins and the one Satan himself enjoyed- at the cost of heaven. People who are religious read the Bible because they believe it tells them all the do’s and don’ts they should do and don’t. They don’t understand that the Bible is written so we can come to Jesus and know God. Religion doesn’t set you free- religious moralism only tightens the chains of self hate, pride and spiritual failure in your life. Read the Easter story- the guys who gave up Jesus for crucifixion were the most religious the world has ever seen!
Freedom comes when we bow our knee to Jesus who took our sins on the cross so that we could be set free from death and sin.
“But that is not the way you learned Christ! – assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self….and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created in the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Here is freedom! Stop pursing dos and don’ts, pursue Christ.
Take some inventory. What is that ONE thing that you continue to act out in a stubborn protest of ‘freedom’ (“Don’t touch this, or leave me alone here”) against God? Maybe it’s a past hurt, a image of yourself that someone else has given you? A secret sin of lust? Greed? Addiction? Re- READ THE ABOVE verses Eph. 4:17-24. Now ask the hard questions:
- How is my thinking about this sinful ACTION twisted? “You made me do this. This is the way I was raised. It’s just part of my nature. I deserve this guilty pleasure. No one knows anyway. It doesn’t effect anyone but myself.”
- How is my thinking about his sinful ACTION becoming darker? “God doesn’t expect me to act any different then this, after all He made me do this?” Justify, blame, and rationalization are all ways we keep things in the dark.
- How are you keeping this sinful ACTION separated from God? Hide the evidence. Turn off the lights. Turn to a bad habit to dull the truth. Blame someone else for our patterns of walking farther and farther away from God.
- How have you denied the reality outcomes of this sinful ACTION? “No one will ever find out. How did this happen? I can handle it. Just one more time. I’ll change later.”
- How has your heart grown hard from this sinful ACTION? Romans 1 “Knowing the truth they continued to suppress the truth, until their hearts are hardened to the truth.”
- How has this sinful ACTION effected your sensitivity towards God and others? Like spiritual cannibals we come to the point of completely rejecting instruction, rebuke, truth, and spiritual discipline and replace it with self righteous justifications to continue to live out sin.
- How are you making efforts to indulge yourself in this sinful ACTION? Scheming, working, making plans, saving money, lieing, conniving, surrounding yourself with others who are living for the same sin and calling it freedom!
Take a look at your freedom? Are you pursuing self freedom or freedom in Christ? He died to set us free. Stop pursuing good works pursue Jesus Christ. Stop living out pseudo-freedom of sin that only brings bondage. Bring sinful ACTION into the light of Jesus Christ. Confess, repent and pursue Christ.