The wisdom of the world says we are most free when we do whatever we feel like doing. “Just follow your heart,” the world whispers seductively, “and you won’t go wrong.” That was the promise Satan made to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden: essentially, “If it feels good, do it!” You remember how that turned out!
The Word of God warns us that this kind of license does not lead to freedom, but to slavery. It is a counterfeit freedom that erodes your mind, empties your heart, and enslaves your will. Real freedom is a life that has been liberated from the love of the self—idolatry—and redirected to the love of our Savior—glorious, unimaginable freedom!
You were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh . . . (Galatians 5:13)
Counterfeit freedom promises a life of purpose and peace . . . control and comfort . . . affirmation and accomplishment; but it simply will not deliver the goods! Sure, for a while you might feel good about yourself; you may believe you are truly free. But before too long, you inevitably realize that you are locked inside a prison of idolatry, addiction, and degrees of dependence upon the very things that had glibly promised you independence. The life these idols promised is sucked right out of you, leaving you empty, anxious, and wanting.
Only the Gospel can reorient the direction of our hearts away from self and toward our Savior. Only the Gospel can free us from the tyranny of living for something smaller than Jesus and empower us to rise above the false promises of freedom the world dangles before us. Only a clear view of the truths of the Gospel can make the attraction of our idols less attractive! You see, the Gospel has already given to us everything these idols promised to give but cannot deliver:
The list of blessings, of course, is endless because the love we have been given by God in Christ is endless. “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3-4 NIV). Everything we desire we already have in Jesus. And because Jesus has secured for us everything we need, we can forsake every false god and fix our eyes upon the One who loved us more than we could ever love ourselves. That God-sized void that yawns inside of each one of us was never designed to be filled by anything smaller than God. God simply loves us too much to let us find soul-satisfaction in some worthless baubles that exist outside of our relationship to Him.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
The only real freedom is found in Jesus. When Christ is dwelling in our hearts through faith, our lives are rightly centered. A centered life is grounded on the Rock and will not be shaken by the winds and the waves of worldly wisdom. Because of the love we have in Christ, we are no longer condemned for our sin . . . and when that truth sinks in, we live a freedom that truly makes us free.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!