We love being able to make the choices that determine the course of our lives. We don't want other people making those decisions for us.
As wonderful as freedom is, it also is a very dangerous thing. It is dangerous because our freedom can lead to our enslavement.
There are certain choices that we can make that will either help us live a life of freedom, or will take freedom from us.
Here is an extreme example. If you decide to murder someone, that decision will rob you of freedom. Even if you were never caught and didn't spend a day in jail, the guilt of the deed and the constant fear of being caught would hamper your ability to enjoy life.
Here is a more common example. Your choice to use credit to furnish a lifestyle way above your income will mean that you are enslaved to creditors. They are entitled to the money you already spent. That means part of the time you are working, you are working to pay them. Not only that, because credit comes with the attachment of interest, you will be paying back more than what you borrowed in the first place, giving you less money to use for necessary things. Often this leads to using a credit card and going deeper in debt.
Your freedom is affected by the choices you make.
The choices we make will either bring us greater levels of freedom or restrict the freedom we already enjoy.
There are many choices that we freely make that end up taking away our freedom. Our freedom and our choices are eternally connected.
Erwin McManus wrote:
“Not all free acts lead to freedom. The choices you freely make may cost you a life of genuine freedom. This is why the Bible talks about the human experience in terms of being slaves to sin. Sin creates the illusion of freedom; it fools us into seeking freedom from God rather than finding freedom in God.
“Whatever else Jesus came to do, one thing is clear—He came to set you free. God is not a warden; He is a deliverer. And so earnest is He about your freedom that He was willing to be taken captive and crucified on your behalf just so you can run free.” (Stand Against the Wind; p. 14)
If we are going to be free we have to make choices that enhance our freedom.
For us to make those choices requires that we look towards the future and not just live in the moment. We need to remember that our choices often have lasting consequences far past the time that we made them. A small choice that you made in the heat of the moment can alter the entire course of your life.
This is why we need a guide. When we choose to follow Jesus we will discover freedom.
This is what the apostle Paul wrote in Romans:
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.. (Romans 6:15-20; NLT)The follower of Jesus is free because he has given himself over to the true way to live life.
Think about this analogy.
A person who is righteous is like a jazz improviser. She has learned the chords and studied the music to the extent that she understands where the music is going. When she goes off on her own she stays true to the music. The jazz improviser has freedom to improvise because she has been a slave to the music.
The person who is a slave of righteousness is able to live with freedom because he has come to understand what life is truly about and where life is ultimately heading. With those things in mind a great many options in life opens up for him. But, those things are only possible because first he choose to do what was right.
Use your freedom to choose to do what is right.