Recently after giving a youth group lesson I was confronted by a group of 5 teens that wanted to debate me about Christianity. Our youth group is a mix of Christians, atheists, and everything in between. Most of the teens stayed after the lesson to watch this debate go down until about 11pm. The leader of their little group said to me, “You’re a Christian. So that means you’re confined by so many rules. But I am free to do whatever I want. I can do drugs if I wanted to, but you can’t. I can get drunk if I want, but you can’t. I watch porn whenever I want and enjoy it with no shame, but you can’t. I’m free, you’re not.”
I thought about this for a moment. I responded by saying, “I don’t think you understand freedom. It’s not that I can’t do those things, it’s that I am free FROM those things. Sure you can watch porn whenever you want, but I don’t think you could stop if you tried. You’re a slave to it without even realizing it.”
If we were to define freedom we might describe it as having the ability to do whatever we want with absolutely no consequences. But imagine if we lived in a world where we had that kind of freedom. That would be like driving down a 4 lane highway with no speed limit signs and no dividing lines. You can drive however you want with no rules…but this would lead to a pileup of disaster.
Freedom requires restraint. It’s actually just like playing drums. Imagine a brand new drummer who’s never played before sitting down on a beautiful pristine kit with new heads, fresh sticks, and fresh cymbals. They sit down and just blast off with no rules. It’s a mess of cymbal slams, dramatic tom hits, chaotic double bass, and of course, cracks and dents in those new sticks.
If you want to be a good drummer, the best place to start is on a practice pad. Learn the basics. Put in the time and discipline. During this process you might feel confined and even bored, but this is what it takes to be great. Once you go through this discipline you now have freedom to play whatever you want with skill and excellence.
The same thing is true about having freedom in Christ. When God calls us to discipline and restraint it’s not meant to confine us, but it’s meant to give us the ability to live free and upright without falling into all these sins traps that are all around us.
Freedom in Christ has two main components. Freedom from & freedom to. You are free FROM your sin. You are no longer slaves to sin, but set free and set apart for God (Romans 6:18). And you are free TO live a new life. God gives you a calling and equips you with everything you need.
So this weekend we are remembering our freedom and independence as a nation. That freedom came at the cost of people laying down their lives. When it comes to your salvation, the same principle applies but in a much larger context. Your freedom came at a cost. Jesus laid down His life so that you could be free. Don’t run back to the chains that He delivered you from!
Have a Happy 4th of July weekend!