The Cycle The moment I turned the keys in the ignition of my first car, I felt free. It was a blue ‘97 Ford Contour, a hand-me-down from my mom. I was 16, a junior in high school, and my license had been burning a hole in my billfold for several months. I adjusted the mirrors, the seat, and the volume (Mom never let the music be loud enough to actually hear the words). I put it in drive. This was the freedom that I’d been anticipating for years. I could go where I wanted, when I wanted (to a certain extent, of course), and I didn’t have to depend on my parents to take me there.
But I wasn’t really free. When you get a license, a vehicle, and gas money, you are free from staying put, but you now have to abide by the rules of the road: signs, traffic lights, etc.
That’s the pattern of human freedom. Whenever you become free from something, you become enslaved to something else.
When I graduated from high school, I thought I’d be free— free from the drama, the monotonous schedule, the busy work. Then I went to college. And there was more independence, but also more responsibility. When I graduated from college, I really thought this time I’d finally be free— free from homework and having people tell me what to read; finally free to do what I wanted with my life.
Wrong again. You have to work to gain experience, money, and time to build up to what you actually want to do with your life. And even then, there will always be something or someone that determines how you live. There's no escaping the cycle.
Freedom is tricky. What we perceive as freedom in this life is really just moving from one enslavement— one master— to another. Some are better than others, that’s for sure. But the only way we can experience true freedom is in Christ. John 8:31-36 says:
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ’If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ They answered him, ’We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?’
Jesus answered them, ’Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’
Like the disciples, sometimes we don't realize we're enslaved to something-- our sin, our culture, our idols. Yet Jesus says if we sin-- which we all do-- we are slaves to sin. BUT He can set us from from sin and our slavery to it.
Romans 6:20-23 goes on to say that if we are freed from sin, we become slaves of God. So how is being a slave being free indeed?
There is no one more free than a slave of God. Freedom, at its core, is the opportunity to be who you want to be. There is a longing in every person's soul, whether or not they ever realize or acknowledge it, to be who they were created to be. When we become slaves of God, He pours out into us, by His Son and through His Spirit, the ability to be who we were created to be and to live forever as that person, in His presence. We were all created to be genuine worshippers of the Most High God.
True freedom is realized when my desire for who I want to be becomes the desire to be who I was created to be. That is when the freedom on the horizon becomes a reality instead of a mirage. After all the fake outs, we know that one day we will finally be free.