They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.
—2 Peter 2:19
When it comes to “freedom” or “liberty,” this definition is usually listed first in collective humanity’s book: the right to be able to do anything I want to do without restraint, expectations—or sometimes even consequences.
From our vantage point here in the United States, the freedom we celebrate on Independence Day is largely about liberty from work to freely enjoy select samplings of summer fun. Barbecue or picnic? Hiking or a day at the beach? Yard work in the sun or napping in a hammock in the shade? All are wonderful to savor, especially when we know and recognize they are blessings from the hand of God.
Today and throughout the annals of history, wicked regimes, kingdoms, and rulers of the ages have held people in oppressive bondage as slaves to them and their whims. For many, the fight to procure liberty from evil tyranny is often costly. With the ratification of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, many of the 56 men who signed that landmark document faced intense persecution and hardship in the form of imprisonment and torture, property that was sacked and burned, loved ones who were killed, or finances that were seized, leaving them to die as penniless paupers.
In the spiritual realm, holding people as slaves in chains is especially true as the enemy of all souls, the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4), continues to masterfully blur the lines between what is true freedom and what is true slavery. It doesn’t take much beyond a mere scan of headlines to be sickened by the lawless debauchery that is celebrated as freedom. Truthfully, though, whether as Christ disdainers or Christ followers, we all struggle in our humanity for a “freedom” from anything we perceive as slavery.
But as Paul points out, we are all slaves, and there are consequences to the choices we make: 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).
This is the paradox of our Christian faith, that in being set free from the penalty of sin by Christ, in obedience to Him we become slaves of righteousness. Now as bondservants of Christ (Ephesians 6:6, NKJV), we are free to live lives resulting in sanctification, with the outcome being eternal life (v. 22).
OCF prayer warrior teammates, as we make the daily commitment to fight for and live in the freedom Christ has given us, how can we pray for each other? How can we pray for you?