When I think of freedom, I think of all the times in my life when I broke away from someone or something that was inflicting or causing me pain. Like cancer, for instance. I fought the cancer battle and a year later, I am currently cancer free! Obtaining that freedom was not easy and it came with a cost, but the joy that freedom brought was worth it all. I guess we wouldn’t call it freedom if it were easy to break the chains that hold us hostage. And I’m quite sure we’ve all had a personal experience of breaking free from someone or some kind of physical or emotional bondage. We love freedom. We fight for it and celebrate it passionately, especially when we are the ones who paid the cost to personally accomplish it. But are we just as passionate and grateful when someone else has paid that cost?
What about Independence? Is that the same as Freedom? We celebrate the 4th of July and call it Independence Day. Freedom and independence. As I think about these two things, I can’t get them out of my head. Does freedom really come from being independent? I guess I’ve always thought it did, but does it? Even as I write this, I am challenged to think in a way that I haven’t thought before. Isn’t it a good thing to be independent? As a Mother, I encourage my children to be independent of me and do more on their own as they get older. This brings more freedom to me, as well as giving them independence. This leads me to believe that freedom comes from being independent. But here’s the game changing question…does it really? Or does real freedom come from the very act of dependence? If you’re not sure, keep reading.
Independence, by definition is “freedom from dependence”. Ok, I get it, but does it really free us to be self-sufficient, self-sustaining, self-reliant, self-etc.? Sounds like we’d just end up all by ourselves. Is that really the kind of freedom we want? Not for me. Freedom, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is the “absence of constraint”. That sounds good to me. Who wants to be constrained? But too much freedom can’t always be good. Law and order are set in place to prevent chaos. We actually need it.
So, here’s where I’m going with this. Freedom is good. But too much, can lead to chaos. Independence, is good but too much doesn’t always lead to real freedom. In fact, it can often lead to bondage. What?!? How? When we try to be so independent, that we don’t need others or God, it can often lead to isolation, which can lead to loneliness and depression. Isn’t that bondage? So, why do we try so hard to be so independent, that we don’t need anyone or God? Didn’t God make us to be in relationship with Him and with others? I need my family and my friends; and I know I need God more. I didn’t get through my cancer battle alone or by any form of independence, but rather my complete dependence on God, my family and my friends.
So, here’s the oxymoron of this whole point: Christ died for our freedom. It’s offered to those who accept it, through His death and resurrection. BUT (and here it is…) we cannot have it, unless we give up our independence and are completely and totally dependent on Him. Self-Nothing and God-Everything! That’s real freedom.
I’ll say it again…real freedom comes through our very dependence on God. Wow!
God will give us the kind of freedom that is truly worth the cost and we don’t even have to pay the price. He paid it. We can’t possibly understand just how great that cost was, but if we could, I bet our gratitude and our celebrations would be far greater than fireworks.
Yes, I will celebrate our freedom as a country and remain grateful to those who paid the heavy price to give us the freedom we have as a nation. In addition, I will celebrate the freedom I have personally in Christ and am even more grateful to HIM, for the heavy price He paid to give me that freedom…eternal freedom.
“Apart from me, you can do nothing” John 15:5
“Two are better than one, because they have good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecc. 4:9-10
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36