2 Corinthians 3:17, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is 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.”
This is an example from today as to how the world defines freedom from Freedomhouse.org, the primary government sponsored source for annual growth in world freedom: “The world was battered by crises that fueled broad fearful sentiment in democratic countries, undermined the economies of states dependent on the sale of natural resources and lead authoritarian regimes to crack down harder on dissent. These developments contributed to the 10th consecutive year of decline in global freedom (in 2016).” 72 countries declined in average global freedom. 43 countries made gains in average global freedom. “Over the last decade, the most significant global reversals have been freedom of expression versus the rule of the law.”
So, according to our international governments, freedom is primarily defined according to how often, and concerning what topics, we may express ourselves.
Conversely, this is an example of how the Lord defines freedom according to Chris Shipley and Power to Change Ministries: “We can view freedom in many ways. For some it’s political freedom. Closely tied to this is freedom of speech. Some will self interpret or ignore the rule of the law to sustain their freedom to express themselves. Others define freedom financially primarily. They believe money and the riches of this world bring freedom. Sometimes in seeking freedom, we put ourselves in a worse situation. Running away from our problems being one of the most obvious examples. The reason this never works is because true freedom resides in our hearts. We can’t run away from our problems because our hearts go with us wherever we go. True freedom is only found in Christ.”
In the Gospels we read, “For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him. The evil man brings evil…” (Matthew 7:17-18) Evil results in sin. Sin results in bondage (slavery), the opposite of freedom. True freedom only happens when our hearts change.
This is true freedom: Jesus Christ. God changes our heart by His Holy spirit. God makes us spiritually alive by giving us a new heart. The saved heart; the changed heart desires to love God; to do His will. The changed heart puts Jesus first and sees Him as beautiful and always the priority. The changed heart desires to be close to Jesus always and love Him above all else.
We were created to do one thing primarily, to love and honor our Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior. A huge portion of this is loving others above ourselves (Philippians 2:3). Living out this singular, daily purpose brings us joy and peace. Loving Jesus primarily every day in our lives and in our hearts brings true freedom.