For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

—Galatians 5:1

It’s the Fourth of July weekend, with fireworks, BBQs, and fun in the summer sun forefront in many people’s minds. The normal holiday discourse among media and pundits of what freedom is—or should be—is already at full tilt, ratcheted up to a new level with the Supreme Court’s recent landmark decision in the overturning of Roe v. Wade. 

Freedom is defined as “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint,” which is to be rightly celebrated if we’re talking about release from cruel and ungodly oppression or slavery. It’s rejoiced in the emancipation of black slaves or those who survived Nazi or POW prison camps and expressed in the stalwart determination of our fledgling young nation to escape the tyranny and taxation of England.  

But the lure in humanity’s fallen nature to be able to do whatever we want, whenever we want, and without restraint tends to only feed that bent of human nature we all struggle with—the “freedom” of my way. Even among Christians, it’s the desire not to submit to anyone or anything—and especially not God. Interesting then, that based on a poll of funeral directors, the most requested song at funerals is not Amazing Grace or How Great Thou Art, but My Way: For what is a man, what has he got/If not himself, then he has naught/To say the things he truly feels/And not the words of one who kneels/The record shows I took the blows/And did it my way.  

However, as the pages of Scripture irrefutably prove time and again, without living by the parameters set in place by a loving God for our good and protection, the “my way” attitude toward freedom, that is, to do “what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25), is actually slavery. 

Adam and Eve’s “my way” defiance in disobedience against God made us slaves to sin—slaves living only to die eternally—and we perpetuate that death warrant by the “my way” attitude of freely choosing to sign it for ourselves (Romans 6:23). As Paul bluntly warns: “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living” (Romans 6:16, NLT).  

The caution for Christ followers is that living in His freedom is not just a one-and-done way of believing Him for the forgiveness of sins. The lifestyle of freedom from all bondage is in remaining yoked to Christ: “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). 

Thank you for standing in the gap on bended knees as the ultimate freedom fighter—a prayer warrior coming before God.

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