Thursday, 21 January 2010

Freedom

What is freedom? Been thinking about this question lately and wondering what freedom is.

Is freedom my ability to do what I want when I want to? Is it about being able to live my life the way I want to live it regardless of the people around me? Is freedom about rejecting rules and living outside of rules? Do rules limit our freedom? Is freedom about not listening to others and having my own mind and doing what I want to do?

I believe freedom is much deeper than this.

The reality is that every decision we make in this life has been influenced in some way by the culture we live in and the past we have experienced. I can never make a free choice in life because if it is truly going to be my choice then it must be free from all external factors, and this is impossible. We do not live in a vacuum.

Freedom therefore is not about arbitrary choice (a choice that is made on impulse or a whim and not by necessity or reason). We are never able to truly do this.

Freedom is about love.

God is love, and he is utterly free in his love. He does not need anything or anyone to be loving. He has been love since before anything existed because he has existed for eternity as Father, Son and Spirit, a perfect loving community within Himself, who loves in perfect freedom.

Therefore, freedom is about love and experiencing the freedom of God and His love. Love is defined as self-giving and sacrificial. Love is defined at the Cross. Love is defined as we look at God.

If then, our lives do not reflect love, then we are not experiencing freedom, but become slaves to that which has mastered us. To experience love is to experience freedom.

God has revealed to us a way of life through Jesus that enables us to experience God's love and in experiencing God's love we experience freedom. Some things in life God calls us to resist because they seek to tear down love and in turn rob us of freedom. Freedom is not about breaking rules or making my choice. Love is not about following rules and never making a choice.

Freedom is to experience the love of God and to share in His love for us. Freedom is about following Jesus where He leads us in His love that we may have an abundant life.

'...where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.' 2 Corinthians 3:17

3 comments:

Gwen Lord said...

Freedom is one of my favourite subjects. Not because I know everything about it but because it took so long to find it in my life!

Joe I admire your ability to express what you think and feel without fear of what others will say and think. For some this would define freedom. For others it’s a given right.

To me it’s not about doing as I want, even though I have that freedom, as we all do, but the freedom to make decisions about my life, for my life, that affect me and me alone. That’s where it gets complicated. Is any decision I make for my life without effect on some one else? This is not very likely, and is where tough love comes into the equation. The question is – are you tough on yourself or others?

I have the right to my own opinion – but I do not have the right to force it on any one else.
I have the right to make a decision for my life regardless of what others think - but I must be prepared to live with the consequences of those decisions.

The list is as endless and varied as those who define it. But basically I see freedom as having a choice. Even in the Old Testament we are given the option to choose blessing or curse. Nothing is forced on us, only chosen, such is the love of God.

The ‘world’ mostly has a distorted view of love which can often bring with it a supposition of ownership which in turn carries a fear of being loved, so I think true freedom can only be defined in the light of scripture.

I don’t see freedom as love but, true love does give freedom. Then again true freedom enables us to express true love. They are so intertwined!

Whatever way you look at it, after much deliberation and self examination at the end of the day I made a decision – I give all my rights to Jesus!

Jenna Christian said...

Hi Joe. I have just read your blog and Gwen's comment and am now quite confused.

There are things that I try to think over intellectually, but generally I do end up getting confused if I go too deep. I know at least while we're on the earth I'll never be able to fathom the depths of God, though I do try to understand as best I can and challenge myself, but generally If I can find a simple view, I tend to try and stick with it in the sense of not overcomplicating it for myself providing it makes sense to me and i find that it is correct scripturally.

I haven't really thought too much about my freedom lately (which probably means i've been taking it for granted a bit), but I always saw my freedom as a state of heart rather than a decision about my life . I believe it comes because of God's love for me and I have it because of my love for Him that He gave me but I don't really see it as coming from love but given as a gift because of His love.

I believe there are lots of things in society that challenge this freedom and try to rob us of it, but I believe that these things are more a state of mind or a mindset and if we let them, these mindsets can become stronghold's that can rob us of our freedom. I do belive though that because of Jesus no matter whether we let these strongholds into our minds or not, we are ultimately free because he has ultimately already beaten death.

I'd love to know what you think of this and would be lovely to hear from you.

Jenna

Joe Haward said...

Hi Gwen and Jenna

Let me see if I can explain more fully what I mean by freedom...

Jesus came to set us free. Freedom from death and sin. Freedom that could be experienced now that will give us a taste of the ultimate freedom that is to come when He returns and brings heaven to earth.

The New Testament talks about us being slaves. Slaves to whatever has mastered us. Jesus talks about us being slaves to sin. Jesus said that a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a child belongs to it forever. So to become follower of Jesus frees us from slavery and brings us into a relationship with the Father.

So freedom is to be in relationship with God.

We are robbed of our freedom when that relationship with God is damaged. That relationship is damaged by sin. We are robbed of our freedom when we do not reflect to the world around us in the way we live our lives, who Jesus is. We are called to witness to Christ. People should look at our lives and see Jesus. To live like Jesus is to be free. To love like Jesus is to be free. To love God is freedom. This is not merely a state of mind (although a part of it is), it is about our actions and how we live our lives.

Do I reflect the risen Christ?

So freedom is not about choices, it is about loving God. I'm not saying we don't have choices, we do. But all choices are never truly free because they are always influenced by our culture, background etc.

Freedom is not about doing what I want, freedom is about living within the love of God and reflecting that love.