i've been dwelling a lot lately on the topic of freedom. i mean why is it that we are so concerned with freedom in america? other countries don't seem too worried about it (maybe that's because they don't have the freedom we do). but the question i have is this, "what is freedom?" do we define freedom simply as the ability to do whatever we want whenever we want? if that is your definition, then maybe most of us who aren't in the clink do have freedom.
what i'd like to suggest to you today, however, is that true freedom is the ability to not do whatever you want. let me say that again. true freedom is the ability to not do whatever you want. you see, we've been programmed to think that freedom means we live for ourselves doing whatever we want to make our own lives better. look out for #1 because i'm all that matters. but we've been so programmed that we are actually bound to selfishness and self-centeredness. do you see it? take a long hard look at yourself. isn't it true that all of the world's problems come back to some form of self-centeredness?
true freedom is the ability to put self aside and live for others. to not do the things that i am rightfully able to do so that someone else is served or loved by me. the problem is that not a single person has this ability in and of themselves. some of you may be thinking, "oh i could put aside my desires in order to serve someone else." maybe you can, but that's not the point. because deep down, i don't think you could put aside your desires for someone else without wondering what you are going to get out of it. take my relationship with my wife. do i do the dishes for her so that she will cook me breakfast and give me sex? or do i do the dishes for her simply because i cherish and love her and want to bless her. the truth of the matter is that we live by the golden rule (which jesus never said by the way). we do unto others so that they will do unto us.
jesus is calling us to a much more radical lifestyle. he is calling us to do unto others whether they do unto us or not. and that radical lifestyle is only possible when the gospel infiltrates our lives and kills our desires on the cross with christ. thus is true freedom my friends, cast off those shackles and die to the bondage of self.
for you were called to freedom, brothers. only do nut use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. for the whole law is fulfilled in one word: 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself.' but if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. -Galatians 5.13-15