Devotional by Cherese Jackson
When most people consider the word freedom, they instantly think of physical slavery. However, many of us have never experienced slavery first hand, but have successfully taken ownership of the slave mentality. You or I may not be in physical danger like slaves during the Jim Crow movement or those bound within the confines of Human Trafficking, but we all face opportunities to be enslaved.
The truth is, ANYTHING that interrupts a person’s free will limits their right to freedom. At one point, we were all slaves to the power of sin. The liberty which Christ has purchased for believers is the freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the severity and curse of the law.
God wants us to always abide in the freedom with which Christ Jesus has made us free. We are God’s children, and he has been waiting since the beginning of time for us to walk into this liberating grace that Christ made available.
“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 (KJV)
This exhortation from the apostle Paul stresses our deliverance in Christ from legalistic bondage to dead works of religious ritualism. There once had been a divine purpose for all the dietary rules, animal sacrifices, and miscellaneous regulations under the Mosaic laws, but the Jews had lost sight of the spiritual meaning and value of these laws. Their leaders had even expanded them into a great host of special applications which had become a heavy burden to the people, with little spiritual benefit.
The security of slavery results in the absence of responsibility. If we are to appropriate the liberty that we have in Christ, we have to release the slave mentality. Jesus died and rose, for our freedom. To break free from self-replicating cycles of oppression mandates a mental transformation. Paradoxically, freedom requires the need to impose control on self and to accept the process and discipline that personal and political freedom requires.
In the wilderness, God fought for the Israelites, but when they came into the Promised Land, he told every man to pick up a sword. Freedom demands responsibility. That very night after they entered the Promised Land the manna which fell freely from Heaven stopped. They had to fend for themselves and manage their own resources. They were still being led by God – just differently – it was a new season called freedom.
Freedom is not born overnight; it requires patience, training and carefully acquired skills. Without them a society can lapse into chaos or conflict, rivalry and war. The Israelites were unprepared for liberty, and the Bible faithfully records their quarrels and disorders. It took a new generation to be ready to cross the Jordan and enter the Promised Land.
The story of the exodus does not belong simply to the chronicles of an ancient people. It is a journey each of us must trace and retrace, because freedom is fragile and needs defending. They were delivered but not free. Deliverance is the release from the oppressor, but freedom is the discharge from oppression. Freedom is essential to all moral responsibility.
The root meaning of freedom is made up of two words – Free and dom (from the word dominion). It means the liberty to dominate or the right to rule your environment or sphere of influence. Freedom, however, is always within the decree of delegation and does not exist without the law of God.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:32 (NIV)
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. But let us not just get comfortable in our freedom, alone. We have been set free in order to bring others into this walk of freedom in Christ. You can only lead people into a position of liberty when you are free. This, my friend, is the finished work on the Cross. Be encouraged, your life can be different because the Cross has determined your destiny and decreed your freedom.