Freedom: Personal liberty as opposed to bondage or slavery
I am so glad to be born in America. So often I wonder why I was born in a land of so many freedoms, while someone else millions of miles away was born into an area of oppression and hardship. I know things are not always easy here in the US. As one of our writers brings to light this edition, there is a terrifying and growing slave trade here that rivals any other country. There is poverty, hunger, unemployment, abuse, and many other areas that are keeping America from becoming the amazing place it could be. Comparatively, however, the United States is a pretty great place to live. We have more freedom, opportunity, and currency than any other place. I am grateful for the freedom to sit down, in my cozy house, at my own personal computer, and talk to you about the freedom I value most…freedom in Jesus Christ.
As grateful as I am to live in a country where I am free from many different forms of oppression, I am much more thankful for the freedom I have received from the most deadly form of oppression… that, of course, is sin. This freedom from sin and the shame that comes with it is offered to anyone, regardless of geographical location or socioeconomic status. This is a freedom that we can’t earn from work or win in a war…it is one that could only be achieved by the sacrifice of one man. The freedom from sin, and the bondage of shame, suffering and death that goes with it, is available to us because Christ stood as our substitute, paying the penalty we deserve to pay. He took each of our sins on himself and suffered the intensity of their weight. I know the burden of my own shame and self-loathing before I found freedom in Christ. To think that He willingly took that load, from me and from ALL humanity, is often more than my mind and heart can comprehend.
I believe that Jesus died for me, to forgive me from my sin, so I now know a freedom that exists beyond where I live, while I live…it is a freedom that will last for eternity. It can’t be taken from me by government, location, war, or social upheaval. It is mine forever. And it is available to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Isn’t God amazing?! Not only am I free from sin, but the shame of who I was before Christ goes away with it. I am free to become the person God designed me to be. Second Corinthians 5: 17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Not only am I transformed into a new person, but I am becoming more like Christ as I grow in Him! I am free to confidently shine as his glory is revealed in my life. As Paul says,“We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance [of God] was fading away… But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is FREEDOM. And we, who with unveiled faces reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3: 12, 16-18. No longer do I have to accept my former abused, rejected, self-destructive, sinful self. I am now a veil-free, radiant, renewed reflection of God’s ever-increasing glory!
My prayer for each of you who read this, no matter what country you were born in, is that you will experience the freedom that comes through Jesus Christ. Thank you for sharing in our stories and our lives.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5: 1