I was laying on the beach reading a novel about the apostles after Jesus' death and resurrection. In it, they told someone about how he could have freedom if he believes in Jesus.
That stopped me for a second. I've come to realize that the idea of freedom is a huge struggle in my faith life.
Growing up in the United States, we're taught that freedom is basically the right to do whatever you want. Yes, we have laws, but we have freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom to swear and freedom to drink, freedom to have sex with anyone we want and freedom to buy anything we want. We're free to do pretty much whatever makes us "happy."
Then, we're told that we have freedom in Christ, which means freedom from sin. But to me, sometimes it feels more like we have rules to follow. It means that we can't swear, drink, have sex with anyone and can't buy anything we want because we have to be good stewards of our money (not saying that I want to do all those things, just generalizing here). It doesn't feel free at all. It feels restrictive.
So what does freedom really mean? Who is right?
The obvious question for a Christian is that Jesus is right. However, that doesn't help me when I'm feeling restrictive. I have to be convinced that freedom in Jesus is really freedom.
Even the dictionary proves these two ways of looking at freedom, the first definition I saw read "The power or right to act, speak or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint." The second definition is "the absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government."
I guess the question really comes down to how you view life and the future. If you think life is only 70 years and you have to make the most of that, freedom probably does mean to do whatever you want. Why not? Life is short.
The second way to look at life as it is a temporary time. On Earth, Satan is ruling, and we're all subject to this world that is dominated by a despot, a terrible person who is wreaking havoc. However, God offers freedom from that despot. We can choose to buck the trend, and although that despot may be really upset, we can have the absence of subjection to foreign domination through God. And we'll be soon taken away to a future without that subjection.
Well, I believe that this life is short. I believe that God is waiting for us in heaven, for a life that is perfect and FREE from sin and sickness and death. If that is freedom, then freedom on Earth means following him and looking forward to that perfect place in heaven.
I know it's not that easy. I know this is an issue I'm going to deal with, but I guess it's good to ask questions and search through my faith to make it stronger.