Today I am honored to post an entry by Doug McHone, author of CoffeeSwirls, one of my favorite blogs.
Before we discuss freedom, Let’s take a look at it’s polar opposite:
- One bound in servitude as the property of a person or household.
- One who is abjectly subservient to a specified person or influence: “I was still the slave of education and prejudice” (Edward Gibbon).
- One who works extremely hard.
- A machine or component controlled by another machine or component.
This is the widely-accepted definitions of a slave. Essentially, a slave is one who has no control over their own actions or destiny. They are commanded to perform various functions without the choice of obedience or a positive outlook of obtaining that which is the most dear to them. That is the freedom they crave.
Throughout history, we have examples of those who have been willing to sacrifice all to obtain their freedom. The first example that comes to mind for me is the Underground Railroad, which was a network of safe houses heading north from the cotton fields of the southern states of the US to the segregated freedom of the north and further into Canada. The people that left their duties risked all, as did those who helped them. To be captured in either instance meant severe punishments that must have terrified all who considered it. But for those who had the nerve to attempt such a flight, the taste of freedom was enough of a goal that they made their flight and began a perilous journey northward for the goal of living their lives as free men even though they were without potential.
The taste of freedom is a powerful drug, craved by all. People risk everything for it. Slave owners took brutal measures to discourage it. But the will of the slave was hard to crush, and their love of freedom was too delightful not to follow their difficult path. Why is it, though, that so many people find it hard to exercises their spiritual freedom, if one could call it that? Even those who know their sins are covered are tempted by the promise of continued forgiveness and take this as a license to continue to serve their old master. Consider Romans 6:15-19:
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.
When one has been converted, they have a new master to encourage them in their work. This one is benevolent and loving. He only wants the best for His workers and has their ultimate good in mind. The other one took them on a road to destruction. Why would they struggle against the new one and act like they were still the property of the former? It makes no sense, but every time I sin I show my fallen nature. I disappoint my master by behaving in ways that would appease my former master and this just isn’t right.
This has been weighing heavily on my mind. I have been like a pendulum, my weight passing to both ends of the spectrum in the last two years. I have been very judgmental and legalistic toward myself and others, and I have considered that some sin of weakness might be OK, as long as I understood that it was already forgiven. Neither extreme is a healthy option for me, but that’s the nature of sanctification. God has shown me my errors and I have tried to overcompensate for them. As His work continues in me, my pendulum heads toward the healthier middle of the target, but until I see Jesus face to face, my pendulum will never stop its motion completely.
The Holy Spirit begins the purging process that expels our sinful tendencies and opens our eyes to the horror of our sins. As we recognize our shortcomings for what they truly are, we begin to wonder if we really want to give up the sins that hold us back. Of course, I will emphatically state that I desire my fallen nature to be fully sanctified and my nature made into a mirror of Christ’s, but even as I say this I look at things that are horrific to me with a longing that shouldn’t be there. My fallen nature longs to put the burden around my neck again and toil in the iniquities that I have been rescued from. These failings are not a laughing matter by any means. Romans 6:20-23 continues this thought:
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, yo u have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I long for the sins that lead to death even as I hate them! I am free, yet I knowingly have relapses toward destruction. If grace weren’t a gift freely-given, I have no doubt where my final destination would be.
We all need to take a cue from the runaway slaves of the Underground Railroad and turn away from the bondage of sin and death. We need to fight the good fight against our former master and embrace all of the cleansing of our new master without pause. We need to be free in our servitude to God and we need to live our lives according to this new master’s wishes.
This has been my struggle recently. As I fight on both sides of the fence, I find myself torn. All along, I know that the healing comes from the new master and I need only surrender another layer of my sinful nature to Him to end the strife. I have been freed from the evil one. I now must walk in the freedom that is found only in servitude to my Lord and Savior.
CoffeeSwirls is the minty fresh blog of Doug McHone, which snaps back wash after wash! Join me as I continually search for my joy on the path of least resistance.