Do you feel free? Do you feel like you can do whatever you want, within reason? We have certain rights as humans and on top of that we have rights as Christians. I believe that we have free will. I believe that everyday I have a choice to follow Christ or not. In every decision I have the ability to make a positive or a negative choice. While I absolutely believe that God is bigger than this world and has control over my life I do think that He allows for a certain amount of freedom. So, I will ask again do you feel free?
There are a fair amount of scriptures related to being free in Christ. We are saved and made new and free. I think the hardest part about being a Christian is how we use that freedom. This is not new to me and I love to think about my life in terms of freedom. I am free to love without abandon. I am free to pray when I want to and free to profess my faith. I do not take these liberties lightly. Some people may not have the same freedoms that I have. In saying that, I want to highlight some scripture that speaks to this freedom.
I have been reading 1 Corinthians lately because it came after Romans. It also happens to be the book that we are following in church. Happy coincidence. Throughout the book Paul speaks to the church at Corinth and is essentially correcting their poor behavior and teaching them how to live for Christ. In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul addresses them with a simple question, “Am I not free?” He is referring to the situation I described above. Am I not free to do what I please? There is a lot meat to that chapter but I am not going into that much detail here. I want to focus on verses 19-27.
19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible…
…23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.1 Corinthians 9:19, 23
This is Paul referring to his free status. Our freedom was purchased. So, it’s not that we owe anyone per say, but I think there should be a healthy sense of obligation to the one who bought us. If this is cryptic I’m talking about Jesus. Because He died and rose again we are free. The question then becomes, what do we do with that freedom? Realizing that we can be free and that freedom can mean more good things instead of bad things is incredible. For whatever reason I tend to associate more freedom with negativity, but like all things Christ flipped the script. Freedom means more of the best things. Life is richer and more full when we realize our freedom. Paul knew that humans have a tendency to lean the wrong direction with more freedom so he gave some pretty simple directionsfor us. The verses below are that direction.
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.1 Corinthians 9:24-27
With freedom comes the need for discipline. Discipline can feel like it contradicts freedom but it doesn’t at all. That’s the beauty. And since I love writing about discipline I am going to stop here and follow up with a post on discipline next week.
In the meantime, think about how you view freedom. Do you feel like more freedom leads to positive or negative outcomes? How have you been using your freedoms, lately?