What is freedom? Take a moment and think. What is freedom to you? Is it the state of not being enslaved or imprisoned? Is it the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint? If you’re not in prison, you probably consider yourself free. Living in America, the “Land of the Free”, you’re free. Is that freedom? Yes, for a lot of people, but there are some who are not in prison, and still feel enslaved and others who live in America and feel bound. Freedom can be considered relative, which means everyone has a different thought on what freedom is for them. One adult male, Clarence answered, “Freedom is life without fear”, while a teenage girl, Natalie answered, “Being able to do what I want, when I want”. So again I ask, What is freedom to you?
Christians have been contemplating that question for a long time. Fortunately, the Bible helps us discover freedom as a seemingly, joyful experience through Christ in the following scriptures:
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Co 3:17)
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Gal 5:1)
People will have a different definition of freedom concerning their own lives and journeys. If Jesus sets Clarence free, will he live a life without fear? Will Natalie be able to do what she wants, when she wants where the Spirit of the Lord is? When we gain freedom through Christ, after years of living in bondage, it doesn’t take away the trepidation along the way. Gaining freedom can be a wonderful experience but maintaining it can be more distressing and terrifying than you can imagine.
Don’t be afraid to be afraid.
The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, "I am trembling with fear." [Heb 12:21 NIV]
God's prophet and friend, Moses was afraid. So afraid, that he trembled but he still had enough strength to encourage those he was leading to not be afraid.
The Israelites that followed a terrified Moses were afraid.
(Everybody was afraid!)
Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning." [Exo 20:20 NIV]
If you have gained your freedom, learn to walk and remain in it. It won’t be easy.
As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn't we say to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians'? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!" Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still." Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. [Exo 14:10-15 NIV]
Freedom is not only a one time incident. You sang, you cried and leaped for joy on your way out of bondage. That’s not it or all. You still have a journey to God’s promises now. During your freedom journey, don’t assume that you won’t experience intimidation, fearful situations and threatening life decisions. When you do, God is telling you, don’t go back, don’t be confined, keep it moving.
God is telling you.....Move on.
Oh and yes, through Christ, you have been set free from bondage, the decision to willingly sin, and you are still a slave, but only to Christ and righteousness now. Don’t be so afraid of paralyzing fear that it keeps you stagnate and sinning. Be afraid, but keep it moving.
You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. [Rom 6:18 NIV]
Don't be afraid of fear. If you have to walk in FEARdom to get to FREEdom…DO IT!
Experiencing fear on your journey to freedom is completely normal.
Don't let it stop you!
Author: Rev. Melanie M. Thigpen