This month, I have been focusing on the United States Constitution, our rights and politics. Today, I want to ask you this question, “Would you give up your rights?” Think about this for a moment. Would you give up your right to “freedom of speech”? Would you give up your right to gather in an orderly fashion? Would you give up your right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Would you give up these or any rights?
Hopefully, the answer to these questions is a resounding ‘NO”. However, what if I told you that you give up your rights daily? What if you willingly gave up your rights for a single night of pleasure? What if you were willing to give up your rights for just the right “high”? What if I told you we do this almost everyday, without realizing it?
As Christians, we have been set free. Free from sin. Free from this world’s thinking. Free from loneliness, bitterness and anger. We have been set free, but we also bind ourselves to the “sin that so easily entangles us.” How do I state this so confidently? Because I also willingly give up my freedom for simple sinful pleasures.
On the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished.” He didn’t say, “It is somewhat finished” or “I’ll finish this at a later time.” Jesus was very clear, “It is finished”. But what was finished at the cross? What did Jesus mean by this simple statement?
In Luke 4, Jesus is explaining that Isaiah the prophet spoke about Him.
“THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME,
BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR.
HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES,
AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,
TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED”
Jesus stated he was here to ”set free those who are oppressed” and to “proclaim release to the captives”. Was he talking with prisoners in jail? Was he speaking to those on trial, waiting for judgement? No, he was actually teaching people from Scripture. He was teaching about an aspect of life we rarely talk about. We are all (or were) slaves to something and occasionally, we willingly become slaves again to our old nature.
Think of it this way. Someone has been talking to you about Christ. They explain where they came from, what they used to do and how Christ has changed them. They, with excitement, tell you how free they feel. You recognize that there is something wrong in your life and accept Christ as your Savior. Immediately, you feel this sense of freedom. You feel this unexplained joy, not deserved love that you never felt before. You know beyond any shadow of doubt, you have been set free from your old self. Then life gets in the way.
You find yourself going back to your old habits. Maybe it was anger. Maybe it was lust. Maybe it was selfish pride. Suddenly, you sense that you don’t have the joy you once had. You no longer feel that you are in God’s perfect and pleasing will. You stop reading and praying for weeks on end. You start to feel depressed and saddened. You feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. You no longer feel free.
This is what happens when we disobey God and His Word. We feel like slaves once again. We feel like we have no control. In essence, we are chained, once again, to the old nature, allowing it to take over and do with us as it pleases. However, life does not have to be this way.
When we willingly sin and go back to our old self, we place the chains on ourselves and say to God, “I know I am sinning and want to be a slave to sin.” We no longer express our joy for what Christ has done. We no longer feel the excitement of sharing Christ with others. Again, life doesn’t have to be this way.
Scripture says, “Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” We, as Christians, need to set our mind on the Kingdom rather than the affairs of this world. This world and it’s system will one day die, but God’ Kingdom will live forever. We must always remember, just because we have been set free, doesn’t mean that we are exercising our freedom.
In the United States, we have freedoms most countries do not have. However, when we do not exercise that freedom we say to our ancestors, “What you did, did not matter.” Would you tell George Washington, “You fought for nothing?” Probably not, but that is exactly what we tell God when we do not exercise our spiritual rights. We tell him that the work Christ did on the cross does not matter.
We must all realize that as Christians, we choose to sin and to obey. We don’t just fall into sin. We willingly sin. We willingly disobey. This is a much greater concern that those who do not know they are sinning. We must examine our own lives and ask ourselves, “Am I exercising the rights given to me?” We must all look into the center of our lives and commit to exercise the rights Christ gave to us.
When we commit our lives to Christ, we are set free and become willing servants of Christ. Don’t allow your sin to creep back in and silence your freedom. Exercise your right to say no to sin. God bless and encourage someone today.