Freedom and Bondage

Freedom and Bondage

John 8:31-36

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

2 Corinthians 3:17

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

“None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free.”

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe the Famous German Novelist from the 1700’s

“I still haven’t found what I am looking for!”   Bono, U2

Freedom:

  • Wars are fought for it
  • Nations are birthed in the name of it
  • Nations are destroyed in the name of it
  • Siblings fight over it 
  • Parents argue with teenagers to define it

Life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness

These three things are intertwined with one another

They are so hard wired into us that they drive us to action and in some cases destruction.  

The destruction of the very freedom we are pursuing

The drive for freedom is like our appetite

The lengths I will go to when I am craving something

  • The drive for freedom is part of what makes us human

To look for an escape route from our frustrations.

The relief we feel when we get free weekend

Sometimes it can feel like a prison door has opened.

We will call this a normal craving for freedom that we all experience from time to time.  

To break monotony and have some adventure

  • Then there are the extreme cases of those who feel trapped in a never ending downward spiral.

They become blinded by their own hopelessness and frustrations and see no way out.

In this series my hope is that we will all come to an understanding of what true freedom is and also what it is not.

We will fight and labor for whatever we consider to be freedom.

Those who contend for accurate and true definition find not only freedom but peace.

Those who pursue an incomplete or misguided definition will fight a sincere but exhausting fight and then they find themselves in a worse condition then when they began.  

So to start our definition of Freedom we are going to understand its opposite:

Bondage:

Stuck

Blocked

Trapped

Frustrated

Dissatisfied

These are words that people use to describe their situation when they are in bondage.

  • Bondage manifests itself in two main forms:
  1. A deep dissatisfaction that never seems to go away
  2. An enslavement to destructive habits or other negative patterns of living that we can’t break free from

The two are connected

These destructive behaviors arise out of our misguided attempts to quench our dissatisfaction.

When someone is not at liberty to live their lives as they want to or when certain factors are hindering their progress, they are in bondage.

If the first type of bondage is the condition of being dissatisfied then the majority of us suffer from some degree of bondage.

Generally we are dissatisfied people

We need more money

More time

More of what someone else seems to have, we think that if we just had what they have then life would finally work for us.

This type of bondage is the seemingly unquenchable search for satisfaction.  

Mick Jagger described this in the Rolling Stones song 

I can’t get no satisfaction

The more desperately we search for satisfaction the further it seems away and the less we have of it.

Now lets contrast that with Jesus’s words in Matthew 7:7

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Was Jesus just making this stuff up?

Does it really work this way?

If it works for everyone else why not me?

Cuz I’ve tried and I’ve tried. As Mick Jagger said.  

For most of us though these outward frustrations are not nearly so powerful or relentless as the inward ones.  The second type of bondage.

The draw of our own bad habits.

From the innocuous those that are harmless and not offensive to the dangerous.

I will start the new eating plan tomorrow

This is a really bad time for me to quit smoking

I am under so much stress right now

I know I shouldn’t go into more debt but when will it ever be on sale like this again?

We try to convince ourselves that 

  • We will grow out of our habit
  • There will be a more convenient time
  • Maybe it will just go away

What about our endless struggle with the same old character flaws

That keep hindering our progress towards freedom

We either make excuses for our shortcomings or worst we blame them on someone else

She pushes my buttons

I never get a supervisor who gets me

Breaking the Cycle

John 8:33

“We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone.

“None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free.”

  1.  Looking honestly and objectively at our life

How stuck we are and want to do something about it.

  • Questions
  • Denial 
  • Take action
  • Fake it until you make it

Which is worst the problem or the solution?

My Dads good intentions to solve my problem

Having my tire laying flat in a jam packed truck bed was not nearly as big of a problem as my Dads good intentions to solved my problem.

We try and we try but without a proper definition of the problem we will lack the proper tools for lasting freedom.

3 Levels of Bondage

How do we get in it and how do we get out of it?

  1. Bondage to bad definitions
  2. Bondage to ourselves
  3. Bondage to a variety of obstacles

The trap of bad definitions

If a person has a faulty idea of what freedom is then nothing will set them free no matter how hard they try.

This is why a bad definition is the first and greatest level of bondage

People are in bondage to their own definition of freedom, and an inaccurate definition that cannot produce freedom will just produce further bondage.

2.  Three counterfeit definitions of freedom

  1. Freedom is the absence of boundaries

An animal with no fences

An adolescent

As an adult the variety of fences can be endless

The trap occurs when we believe that removing the obstacles will make us free, because then our freedom depends on someone else

We have now granted them control over us

It is the belief itself that has us stuck not the boundary

2.  Freedom is the absence of frustrating habits

This counterfeit focuses on treating the symptoms instead of the root cause.

I drink too much

If I stop drinking I will be free

If I stop screaming 

If I stop pulling my eye lashes out

If I simply stop whatever compulsive behavior that seems to be the source of frustration for me or my loved ones then I will be free

As a human we often then just substitute one habit for another

To change behavior without experiencing true freedom leads to greater frustration and eventually to a sense of powerlessness and even hopelessness.

3. Freedom will come when my circumstances or relationships change

We will be free if we get out of the relationship that seems to bind us

spouse, kids, someone we work with, 

This situation or these people are keeping me stuck

If we are struggling in our marriage freedom must be the result of getting out of that marriage.

3.  So What is Freedom?

John 8:36

a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

“Freedom is the ability to act and react in life as the man or woman you were created to be”

A son or daughter of the Father

Freedom is always about becoming ourselves within our circumstances

The evidence of true freedom is:

When we can act and react with out insecurity

Without judgement

Without fear

Without rage

With out selfishness

Without codependency

A definition of freedom that does not include an understanding of our true identity will always lead us astray.

The next two levels of bondage are ourselves and our obstacles

If we try to address the obstacles with out some idea of who we truly are it would be like trying to take a trip without choosing a destination.

Jesus knows about freedom

If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed

What does Jesus say to us 

Repent

we hear that and we think 

I will stop stealing and I will start praying

I will stop cursing and I will start giving in the offering

That is just changing bad content for good content

The knowledge of evil with the knowledge of good

Jesus is saying repent 

Metanoia

To think different and live different

Change the lenses and the filters 

Think different so you can see different

The third level of bondage are the obstacles and in this series we will address many of them but for today something that I want you to begin to lock in to your thinking people and relationships are not your obstacles to freedom.

You really can be free without anyone changing but yourself.

Freedom can come without anyone else cooperating with you!

2 Corinthians 3:17

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Freedom is possible

Today there are people who live behind bars but they are free

And there are people who live in beautiful mansions but they are bound

Outward circumstances have little or nothing to do with true freedom!

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (freedom)

It is within reach it is not a myth

To be free is to be able to act and react fully out of who you were designed and created to be a Son and Daughter of the Father

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