(Posted on March 2, 2009)
From a human point of view, there seem to be two main types of "freedom." Some people believe that the way to be free is to avoid Christianity and other religions, living their lives however they see fit. In contrast, others believe that the path to freedom lies with Christ. In spite of what some people may try to tell you, you can't just pick whichever path seems to work better for you. There is only one right solution to this problem.
Obviously Jesus knew that this would be a struggle for us, and He provided a very clear answer: Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." - John 8:34-36 (NKJV)
We all serve some kind of master. Those people who think they're living a "free" life away from God really aren't free at all. In fact, they are the biggest slaves because, for the most part, they don't even realize it. But why aren't they free, you may ask, if they can do whatever they want? That's just it, though--they become slaves to themselves, to their own sinful passions and desires. As Jesus put it in that verse, they become "slaves of sin." They start to give in to every desire that comes over their flesh, so much so that they quite literally becomes slaves of sin.
Some of you may struggle with those types of desires--they may be sexual or alcoholic in nature, for example. However, many of you probably aren't faced with those kinds of struggles. Still, though, you can become a slave to something in this world very easily without even realizing it. For many, money has become that master, along with a goal of obtaining more worldly things that ultimately have no eternal value. (I will address the topic of money more thoroughly in another article.) People can become slaves to television, sports, computers, the internet, video games, and many other things as well. You can also become a slave to a strong emotion; if you allow yourself to become overwhelmed with worry or fear, then that emotion has control over you. I encourage you to carefully examine your life. If you discover anything that you place before God, especially if it happens on a regular basis, then you have found something worldly that has become your master.
Thankfully, we don't have to serve humans, worldly things, or sinful desires of the flesh. The Son, Jesus Christ, has made us free indeed, as the last part of the above Scripture passage says. It's not always easy, with so many temptations fighting for our attention down here in the world. But with God on our side, anything is possible. If you spend more time serving Him and less time serving other things, your relationship with Him will grow stronger and I guarantee you that you will feel a new sense of peace and fulfillment that you can never get from satisfying those short-term sinful desires. True freedom can only be found in the everlasting peace that comes from Jesus Christ.