Friday, July 6, 2012

True Freedom

 I feel like this time of year freedom is on all of our minds.  Maybe you’re a student or teacher and you’re lucky enough to have FREEDOM from school for a few months (this is the first summer I haven’t had that luxury).  Maybe you just graduated from high school and you are so ready to be out from under your parents’ roof.  Maybe you’re thankful to those who sacrifice to protect our freedom in America.  Either way, freedom’s most likely on the brain.  

 We sure value freedom here in the U.S. of A.  But what does freedom really mean?  I think sometimes we define freedom as the ability and permission to do whatever we want.  I’m not much of a rebel, but that is definitely how I felt until I encountered this verse.  

"34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.” 

Before marriage, Phil and I struggled to keep our relationship completely pure.  We agreed that waiting until marriage to be intimate (emotionally, spiritually, physically) would ultimately benefit our marriage.  Still we struggled with that.  One root issue for me was the feelings of freedom I felt when I “broke the rules” and just did whatever I felt like.  Especially in that scenario, sinning only made me feel free for a little while.  Shortly after the feelings of freedom subsided they were replaced by things like guilt, isolation, fear, and a rift between Philip and me.  One day as I was asking God to help me be less of a screw-up in this area, he brought me to this verse.  At first it confused me.  The stuff about a slave and a son made my brows furl.  Suddenly, I understood.  If I were to translate this into the Chelsea Standard Version it might say something like this:

“Choosing things outside of my design for you ties you to those things.  Sinning might make you feel free for a little while, but being under my boundaries ultimately gives you more freedom.  Those things that you choose to indulge in don’t care about you.  They will use you and lose you.  I am invested in you—I view you as my own child!  Following me and my way of doing things allows you to get the blessings and benefits that go along with that.  How I desire you to have that better kind of freedom!”    

Think about it.  When you meet a child who was raised with no boundaries, do they seem free?  Or do they seem like a tyrant.  A dog without the boundary of a fence around a yard might be considered free.  However, how free will they feel when they get run over by a car?  Will your neighbors be happy about your dog’s freedom if he’s leaving droppings all over their lawn?  Probably not.  Having sex without any boundaries could result in STDs, unwanted pregnancies, emotional/relational despair.  (Protection is good, but it doesn’t protect you from everything).  We say we want to be able to do whatever we want.  We hate that there are rules in the bible.  But I don’t think we really mean it.  If we really thought about it, I think we would find that healthy boundaries are important.  The bible isn’t just a big rule book.  God doesn’t want to ruin our fun.  I believe he wants us to experience better freedom than we tend to settle for.  I belief he wants us to have life in all of its abundance (John 10:10) and staying within his boundaries and following his agenda help us to have that.  

What does freedom mean to you? (Whew...two controversial posts in a row!  Thanks for bearing with me.  P.S. I don't mind if you disagree, I'd still like to hear your thoughts).

1 comment:

The Stantons said...

Chelsea-your blogs literally make my day every time. Thank you for that beautiful insight. Chelsea Standard Version makes alot of sense, especially knowing your heart behind it. Miss you friend!!

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