DOD 9 - Real Freedom, Real Life
John 8:36 – “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”
I remember like it was yesterday… 22 men I had shared a POD (large cell) with for 6 months at the Marion County Detention Center saw me packing my bag and emptying my locker, and they knew I was heading home. After a couple administrative stops and goodbyes to officers in the building, I was released through the double front locked doors and handed my papers. I took about a dozen steps to the front door of the lobby and then stepped through one final set of doors into the morning light and sun shine and fresh air. I was finally a free man. Besides giving my life to Christ and feeling the actual weight of all my sin and shame removed from soul, this experience of leaving jail for the last time and taking a deep breath as a free man was an important one for me. It reminded me of the Life and Power that come from REAL freedom…
Galatians 5:1 – “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.”
Romans 8:2 – “because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”
John 8:32 – ““And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Psalm 118:5 - “Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.”
In the New Testament, Paul refers to himself in the original Greek language many times as a “Bond Servant” of Jesus Christ. A bond servant would have typically begun as an indentured servant who had a contractual obligation for a definite amount of time to his master. Over the course of his service, this indentured servant would have developed such a love and respect and admiration for his master that he would, upon completing his contractual requirements, choose to remain the servant of his master FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE, and take an oath to remain loyal for life. He would then submit his body to his master, and his master would pierce his ear with an awl, marking him as the voluntary property of his master for life.
1 Peter 2:16 – “Live in freedom, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.”
1. Using the language and imagery from the scriptures and examples above, take some time to reflect on your own relationship experience with the Father and the Son. Would you call yourself a bond-servant of Jesus, an indentured servant of Jesus, or something else altogether?
2. Freedom is defined as the power to act, speak, or think as one wants… So why, in the choices we make from a place of “freedom”, do we find ourselves getting burdened under the weight of slavery, addiction, and bondage?
3. So if freedom isn’t getting to choose whatever we want, what is Real Freedom as the bible defines and pictures it, and why does that kind of freedom lead to Real Life?
What I realized when I left the Jail after 180 days inside was that true freedom was not in my ability to pick and choose whatever I want (the whole world appears to be doing that). Rather, it was my recognition of the infinite number of choices around me, and because of the Father’s Love, the Holy Spirit’s power and my increasingly confident identity as a son of the MOST HIGH GOD, I can remain faithful to who I am IN HIM and who HE MADE ME TO BE. True Freedom is found in obedience to the One who made me. Like Paul said, I AM A BONDSERVANT OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
May that be increasingly true for each one of us this day, and in the days and weeks to come.
To wrap up, watch this video (some have seen it before and others have not), and then chime in on GROUPME with anything you want to share from the questions and thoughts above, as well as what you have to say about one of the videos ringing lines I’ve paraphrased here – “And by the way, the door is open and you can come out whenever you want…” WATCH THIS - https://vimeo.com/127009006
Men – let’s believe HIM for that today.