Freedom

Freedom – something so treasured, something fought for, died for, loved by so many.  The world again saw the desire of the human heart for freedom in the protests in Egypt.   Like many of you I was glued to the TV for many evenings – watching the news coverage with fascination.  At first it was just because it was an interesting story – a moment in history.   Then it became more – hope for the protesters – hope for freedom and not oppression.

Freedom is a a closely held value for most americans – something to be fought for and defended vigorously.  Our nation was founded on a foundation of freedom – a revolution against tyranny – against “taxation without representation”.  Much American blood has been spilled in the defense of freedom – ours and the freedom of others.  So I think it was natural for many Americans to hope for the Egyptian people – hope that freedom would win – and the Mubarak would capitulate instead of acting in violence.  While we had reservations of what would happen with our strong relationship with Egypt, with their relationship with Israel we still desired freedom for them – accepting the cost.

What was fascinating about this was that it was something of an explosion – a collective groan amongst the people of not just Egypt, but much of that region.  While there is a strong economic element to it the desire for freedom was undeniable.  This was no intellectual revolution, no student protest, no union protest – but a desire across many segments of society for freedom.

The reason I’m writing this whole post is because I was reading Galations 5 (MSG) which talks a lot about freedom.  The Bible portrays a somewhat contradictory view of freedom – but an honest one.  In one sense we are free – we were created to be a people of choice – to have the freedom to reject or embrace God.  It was a daring and risky path for God to take – but it was the path of love – not oppression.  We know that we do make choices – that it’s not all out of our control.  We know that we can’t control other people – they make their own choices despite our pleas and our attempts to manipulate them.

On the other hand the Bible is honest about the illusion of freedom – that we aren’t as free as we think we are.  As I get older I can clearly see that my previous choices constrain wait choices I have now.  Jesus said you can’t serve 2 masters – and I think many of us understand that despite our protestations of being able to do anything we want (that we really aren’t that free).  That there are forces for good and evil within us that battle for our hearts, our minds and the choices in our lives. That we are our own worst enemy – that others aren’t our problem – but that we do what we don’t want to do.

Then to make it more confusing Galations 5 (MSG) talks about freedom also – a different kind of freedom – freedom in Christ.  That the way out of the mess is to live in freedom – but freedom in God’s spirit.  That true freedom isn’t in indulging ourselves, in doing whatever we want, but only found in God.  I’m learning more and more that’s not about what I do – but what God does through me.  That who I am in him – living in his love and living out his love to others.

Trusting God to this level – to seeing his spirit take control and change me from the inside.  It’s daring and risky for me – just like it was for God to create us.  But it’s also wonderful…

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