September 19, 2011

Freedom or slavery?

Yesterday’s sermon at our church was titled, “Modern Slavery.” Today’s devotional reading is from another place in the New Testament, also about being a slave. 
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
Our pastor did a great job of showing us from the Bible that even Christians can be enslaved by anything that controls us. He listed a few things like drugs and alcohol, food, lust, television, fear, gambling, the desire to be popular, and could have added many more. I thought of a few, like gossip, overt desire for anything (even comfort) and perfectionism.

Yesterday we were shown the results of an interesting survey done in England where people were asked what they could not live without. Clean drinking water topped the list, but Facebook was number four! Chocolate and coffee, also on the list, suggested that people didn’t take the question too seriously, but if they did, human priorities are terrible out of whack. Many people are enslaved to the frills of modern life.

The bottom line of the sermon was a quote: “The only way to be genuinely free is to fully surrender my life to the Son of God.” I agree. Jesus said, “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).

Surrender to Christ and faith in Him results in freedom. The devotional reading for today outlines some of these freedoms, such as freedom to enjoy and grow by reading and understanding the Bible, freedom to live under the kindness and care of God and freedom to claim and receive the prolific and life-giving promises of God.

God’s Word is a Christian’s comfort in distress, cheer in sorrow, and anchor when life is stormy. We are also free to come to the throne of grace whenever we want to talk to God or have a need. This access to God includes the freedom to spread before Him all our desires, difficulties, wants and burdens.

We are set free from guilt as His forgiveness is freely given as we confess our sins. We are free from want for He promises to supply all our needs. We are free from fear for His perfect love drives it out. We are free from all condemnation and future judgment and are presently being set free from the power of sin.

Slavery to other things, from cell phones and texting to substance abuse and bitter resentment ties up our time, talents, emotions and potential. Offering ourselves as servants/slaves to Jesus Christ opens our lives to the perfect will of God and sets us free from all that cripples us and holds us from accomplishing great and everlasting things. Jesus promises to set us free — and He does!

Lord, if any activity is sin, like gossip and bitterness, compulsion to do it is easy to recognize as slavery and that bondage is easy to shun. But other activities, like eating and hobbies, have a fine line between normal enjoyment and being enslaved. My motivations can switch too, making a good thing into a sinful thing. You’ve shown me that I can ‘do housework to avoid reading my Bible’ and ‘read my Bible to avoid doing housework’ so I need Your Spirit to keep me alert and aware of not only the taskmaster that bids me into slavery, but my own motivations that make me willingly go along with such slavery. Far better to ignore all those ‘voices’ and listen only to You. You call me to faith, obedience and righteousness — and in heeding that call, You set me free to be all that I can be.

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