Freedom. Independence. Are they the same thing? How do you define these words? Here are some thoughts from Scripture:
“Christ has set us free for freedom. Therefore, stand firm and don’t submit to the bondage of slavery again.” (Galatians 5:1) Christ gave His life for our freedom from sin and from the ways of darkness in the world. When we live our daily lives IN Christ, we are truly free. Not independent, because we are part of Him – we have submitted our entire selves to His will, His way, His guiding light – but IN Him we are truly, completely free to become all God created us to be. We are told to STAND FIRM in Christ and not to submit ourselves completely to anything except Him.
“He rescued us from the control of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves. He set us free through the Son and forgave our sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14) Freedom IN Christ means that we depend on Him. We are independent of the world’s total control of our lives. Dependent on Christ – independent of anything that is opposed to His way and will. Controlled by His light…or by the world’s darkness…which will it be? (It can’t be both.)
“Once you were alienated from God….but now He has reconciled to you….Butyou need to remain well established and rooted in faith and not shift away from the hope given in the Good News you heard.” (Colossians 1:21-22) It’s so easy to drift away from the true eternal freedom Christ gives us. So easy to, bit by bit and day by day, submit the control and direction of our lives to other things, other forces in the world. Before we know it, we’ve given up the freedom we used to have in Christ. That’s when other disciples in our lives are so important. Our Lord never sent disciples out into the world on their own; He always sent them out with at least one other disciple. We travel through life together – living human reminders and encouragers to one another of the path and strength of the true, rock-solid freedom we have in Christ.
“Be rooted and built up in Him; be established in faith, and overflow with thanksgiving just as you were taught.” (Colossians 2:6-7) As strange as it might sound, the way to true, lasting freedom and independence means depending fully on Christ each and every day. It means being so immersed in Him that we are part of who He is in this world. THAT kind of freedom and independence is so big (beyond our imagination)! When we daily claim it and grow ever more “rooted and established” in it, that freedom and independence will cause us to “overflow with thanksgiving” so much that those around us will be drawn to the promise and power of Christ….
That’s TRUE freedom and independence, and each of us can find it - IN Christ!
May you daily discover and grow in true freedom as you live YOUR life IN Him, dependent on His light and love, and independent of the darkness in the world around you. May it be so each and every day of your life. IN His name I pray. Amen.