Part 4 of a four-part series on the Good News.
The Jews had been slaves in Egypt. Then Moses came and led them out. As the Israelites marched out into the desert, they thought they were free. But their wandering in the desert would expose their deeper slavery. Their hearts were enslaved to false worship (the golden calf), to their desires (complaining about food), and to their fears (refusing to trust God). It took 40 years for them to truly become free. They only experienced freedom when they were able to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.
We think of ourselves as free people. We have freedom of speech and of religion and many other freedoms as Americans. We have the freedom to go to church any time we want to. It just so happens that most times we don’t want to. Even though Jesus has defeated the Devil and opened the gates of Heaven, we continue to choose slavery. Jesus could be talking to us in John 8:21-59. He tells some Jews that had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They respond, “We are descendents of Abraham, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus responds, “Every one who commits sin is a slave to sin.” He then goes on to point out that they are believing the Devil’s lies and doing the works of the Devil.
We have bought the lie that freedom means, “I can do whatever I want to do.” Jesus is offering us a relationship with the Father, which is the freedom to love and be loved. But to experience it, we have to accept the Father’s lordship over us. This means surrendering to God’s will and being obedient to Him. To us, who grew up in a culture of slavery, the freedom Jesus offers actually looks like slavery. But God created us for Himself, and we will only find true life in Him. The alternative is to live for myself. We all know what a terrible idea that is, and how it leads to a slavery of desires and fears. Ultimately the “freedom” of the world leads us to total isolation and loneliness. Most Americans are living a life of solitary confinement in the prison of their own egos. You were made for more! Communion with God is true liberation. And Jesus is the way to the Father. Come live in the Light, accept the Truth, and find true Life!