There is so much about freedom in the Bible. Here are just three quotations, from Old and New Testament.
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a stage had no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
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.”
“When hard-pressed, I cried to the Lord; He brought me into a spacious place.” Or as the NIV says “He answered by setting me free.”
It’s funny how I know this, and appreciate it, and yet fail to allow it to penetrate into my everyday life in so many ways. I am free, yet I don’t live free.
It is just another example of fact being overridden by feeling. I can be swamped by the things around me, and forget that the giver of freedom is in control. Whether it’s Brexit, Syria or other examples of events in the world that seem so awful, or so unstoppable, and beyond anything we can influence, it’s easy to feel trapped, powerless, tied into a system I cannot change.In C.S. Lewis’ book ‘The Last Battle‘ there is a brilliant example of this.
After an epic battle between good and evil, the protagonists find themselves no longer in a small thatched stable, but in a new land, filled with beautiful things, delicious fruit, breathtaking scenery. As they move through it they meet some dwarves that they have encountered previously. Although they are in the new land, they are huddled together as if tied up…
“They never looked round or took any notice of the humans until Lucy and Tirian were almost near enough to touch them.Then the dwarves all cocked their heads as if they couldn’t see anyone but were listening hard and trying to guess by the sound what was happening.
‘Look out!’ says one of them in a surly voice.’Mind where you’re going. Don’t walk into our faces!’‘
‘All right!’ said Eustace indignantly, We’re not blind, we’ve got eyes in our heads.’
‘They must be darn good ones if you can see in here’, said the same Dwarf whose name was Diggle.
‘In where?’asked Edmund.
‘Why you bone head, in here of course.,’ said Diggle, ‘In this pitch-black, poky, smelly little hole of a stable.’ ‘Are you blind? said Tirian.
‘Ain’t we all blind in the dark? said Diggle.
‘But it isn’t dark, you poor stupid dwarves’, said Lucy. Can’t you see? Look up! Look round! Can’t you see the sky and the trees and the flowers? Can’t you see me?”
‘How in the name of all Humbug can I see what ain’t there? And how can I see you any more than you can see me in this pitch darkness?’
The conversation goes on. Eventually Aslan arrives and offers the Dwarves a feast, but they only see it as rotten leftovers. Their main consideration is not to let anyone take them in. ‘at any rate, there’s no Humbug here.’
”You see’ Aslan explains, ‘they will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison it’s only in their minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.’
How am I a prisoner of my own mind? What freedom am I unable to see and step into?
Henri Nouwen in The return of the Prodigal Son, writes about the freedom which comes from being released from the bond of comparison. ‘God is urging me to come home, to enter his light, and to discover the that, in God, all people are uniquely and completely loved. In the light of God I can finally see my neighbour as my brother, as the one who belongs as much to God as I do. But outside of God’s house, brothers and sisters, husband and wives, lovers and friends become rivals and even enemies; each perpetually plagued by jealousies, suspicious, and resentments.’
Only in Christ can I truly be free…
‘everything has the potential to draw forth from me a fuller love and life. Yet my desires are often caught on illusions of fulfillment. ‘ Sacred Space (2019), p.350. So true!Photos from Colne Valley Country Park, Middlesex, October 2019.