Celebration of Liberty: Breaking the Chains - 15 May 2019

Louise Gevers

“I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32

No time in history has been free of oppression. The fight for freedom is an ongoing battle that never fails to strike a chord in the human heart, because breaking free from bondage is exhilarating. People may be imprisoned, justly or unjustly, and cry out for freedom; yet not being imprisoned, or enslaved, doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is free. Everywhere, people are enslaved, figuratively speaking, and no Human Rights can free them from these natural chains.

Freedom is the desirable state of having the capacity to do and say what you want to, without restriction or fear; and, through it, to be able to enjoy self-fulfilment and dignity because of its worth. This creates the potential for happiness, and makes freedom something that should be celebrated and shared by everybody. People who are denied it feel undervalued, and become unhappy and frustrated with those who are not.

Paul, as a zealous Pharisee, had been driven by prejudice and murderous intent regarding the new Christians; at the time he couldn’t see objectively that his hatred was blinding him. Jesus set him free from this blindness on the road to Damascus, which changed him forever. He could later counsel the Galatians about this true freedom. Jesus had transformed them and they were no longer subject to the Old Testament laws: “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.” (Galatians 5:1) Like Paul and the Galatians, we sometimes allow ‘legitimate’ things to hold us captive and deny our true freedom.

Jesus emphasizes the importance of breaking the stranglehold of sin which erodes our peace and deprives us of freedom eternally. “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has 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.” (John 8:34-36)

Only Jesus, the Son, can break the chains that rob us of freedom: pride, superstition, fear, anxiety, possessions, addictions, temper – anything that we know has a hold on us. Jesus emphasized the importance of the truth as the key. “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” (John 8:31-32)

We need to be freed from falsehood because it blinds us. Only then may we know the truth, and the joy of a heart set free, and celebrate true liberty; otherwise we can possess anything we want, and then discover that it brings no satisfaction because it possesses us.

Are you free to celebrate?

Prayer: Dearest Father, Thank You for filling my heart with greater joy than I knew possible by setting me free through Jesus Christ the Lord. Your Word is truth and creates the exact picture that we need of righteous, meaningful living; please increase my understanding of this.  Amen.

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