“Freedom is an acquired taste.” ~ Steven Furtick
Have heard of people coming to Christ and being “set free” of crazy things? I have. Drugs, alcohol, depression…you name it, I have heard it.
I want to accept these stories at face value, however, there’s just one problem for me – I have not experienced this sort of release! And for years I have lamented over my “bondage” to certain vices.
Where’s my freedom???
A friend of mine comes from a background of alcoholism. Nothing helped until he began to follow Jesus Christ. He is now “free” from alcohol abuse.
Personally, I have never struggled with alcoholism. You could say that I am and always have been free of it. But what would happen if after hearing his story of reformation I come to him in some pseudo solidarity boasting of my “freedom?” He naturally would want to hear my story. My response, however, would be a mockery. It would be something like, “I’m totally free from alcohol addiction, too. So free that I have never drank!”
He would immediately realize we have very different concepts of freedom. His involved experience, mine exclusion. Now, freedom is certainly being rid of something, but this perspective is rather incomplete and anemic.
The concept of freedom assumes a “bondage” that preceded it. And there is a journey between the two. This journey (or really struggle) can easily lead to unhealthy conclusions, if we’re not careful:
Freedom is not real.
Freedom isn’t for me.
Freedom doesn’t apply to this struggle.
God doesn’t make a difference.
God isn’t real.
And on and on and on…
I have written about freedom quite a bit lately (see “Nightmares Are Dreams Too”, “God Freedom?”, “Suck Rocks”, and “But I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”). I’m a little obsessed, I guess. But why not?! What topic is more important than freedom?
Freedom, or a lack thereof, seems to be involved with anything we humans encounter. Everything we flee from or run to has freedom interwoven somewhere in the fabric.
Recently, I realized something. Freedom is NOT the absence of something; it is standing up to the agent of bondage and fighting. Remember the Braveheart clip from “Got Freedom?” — free men fight!
At the end of the film, the Scottish eventually become free from English tyranny. Freedom for William Wallace, and those who followed in his stead, occurred much earlier though. They experienced freedom the moment they said no to tyranny, to evil. Freedom is not fluffy clouds and candy bars; it may actually involve your entrails being ripped out!
Freedom is an acquired taste. If it’s easy, it’s probably not valuable. In fact, it’s probably a facade. Do not settle for distraction or pretension.
As Ravi Zacharias says, “All pleasure must be bought at a price. For legitimate pleasure, the price is paid before it is enjoyed. For illegitimate pleasure, the price is paid after it is enjoyed.”
Although the focus here is not pleasure, freedom is often intertwined with it. So read the quote above again, and this time insert the word “freedom” for “pleasure”.
Doing what you want does not necessarily express “freedom.” Doing what you ought to do is freedom expressed. More on this next time…
We live in a world today that confuses freedom with entitlement. Personally, I have treated freedom like manna for far too long. But it’s not falling into my lap. It’s a promised land, waiting for me to enter by faith. But promised lands always are inhabited by enemies that must be faced and expelled. And they often are surrounded by high walls that block your vision.
Are you conquering or being conquered?
Where You are, I am free…
See you next time, hipsters.