No boundaries, no limits, no rules! These are three things that came to mind when I thought of freedom.
In 2021 I think of not wearing a mask, hugging my family, sipping cocktails with friends. Freedom!
In all seriousness though, freedom really is a gift! Galatians 5:1 says “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” God wants to be liberated and free from things that hold us back. He wants us to dream big and do big. He wants the best for us.
To the world however, being “free” (I feel) is often to be without accountability. Like I said before; no boundaries, no limits and no rules. Leave home at 18 so we’re “free” to do whatever we want… have a certain status in society so we’re “free” to say whatever we want… earn a certain sum so we’re “free” to treat people however we want.
The problem is, the world’s freedom is false advertisement. We don’t get what we pay for. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, a consequence if you like. In fact we often end up getting robbed; of joy, of relationships, of parts of ourselves.
In today’s society, right now, I feel as though we’re moving towards a “you do you boo!” kind of mentality regarding ourselves and others. I’ve been wondering how I as a Christian woman in her twenties is supposed to counter that culture. I think Paul says it quite well in his letter to the Corinthians, albeit a little blunt. “I have a right to do anything, you say – but not everything is beneficial.” (1 Corinthians 6:12)
He’s right! We have free will, we have free speech. But not everything that is available to us is beneficial. Not every relationship is beneficial, not every comeback in an argument is beneficial, not every Netflix show is beneficial. When I come against these things, I really need to know myself. What triggers me? What draws me away from who I really want to be? And I do my best to not succumb to them.
For example, I love a night out with the girls (come on Boris, let us out!) but I’m particular about who I “night out” with, because of who I want to be. But, in total transparency, there was a time when a night out, no matter who with, wasn’t beneficial to me, so I didn’t go. I was free to go, I Iived on my own under my own rules, but nights out were making me into someone I didn’t like.
All this is to say that for me, true freedom isn’t really about me doing what I want. It’s about God doing what he wants, and me being obedient to that. My (extremely wise) friend said recently: “What God gives us is soul freedom, He frees us from ourselves and everything we do/have done…” Like I said before, the world’s freedom is false advertisement. When I go ahead on my own and do one thing, I don’t always get what I bargained for. I’ve sometimes ended up alone, hurt or just not feeling great.
When we come to know Jesus and truly believe and say out loud that he is our Lord and Saviour, we become a new creation. The old has gone and the new is here. We are freed from our past self, our human “selfness” into what Peter describes as a “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession..” (1 Peter 2:9)
Freedom in Christ does come with boundaries but they are not there to guilt trip us into goodness, they are there to make space. If we want to have open hands towards God and what he wants us to do, we need to let go of some things. If we want to say yes to what God is asking us, then by default we need to say no to something else. God, in his kindness, has laid out those boundaries, those guidelines for us in his word, the bible.
I’m figuring all this out at the minute, it’s a journey, but one I’m more than willing to embark on.
How about you?
Love Georgia X