by Joel Lawler
Are we really free?
"America - home of the free and the brave." Really?
What does it mean to be "free"?
How many countless lives are imprisoned by alcohol, drugs, nicotine, pornography, guilt, pride, fear, sexual addiction, resentment, religion, greed, debt, gambling, anger, tyranny…?
I am sure this is a very short list of the captors who have enslaved us. I have met very few people who have not at one time or another struggled with an issue in their life that held them tightly in its grasp and robbed all the joy from their life.
I make my living through the internet. I develop sites for my company. The internet is an incredible tool for communication. Unfortunately, primary use of internet is as a pipeline to enslavement. Did you know that a large majority of the internet traffic is pornography? Seven out of ten males under the age of 25 are struggling with an addiction to porn. Recently I heard a speaker say "no wonder they call it 'the web'".
My wife and I, when we were first married, had a credit card that was suppose to help us save to purchase a car. When we went to the auto dealer, we were informed that we did not have a credit rating because we did not carry a balance on the card. We now find ourselves struggling to get out of debt. Most of the tension in our marriage is directly tied to finances and the debt that we have taken on over the past ten years. We are not alone. Seven out of ten families live paycheck to paycheck. Money problems are one of the primary reasons for broken homes and marriages. There is a very lucrative industry based on the prison of debt.
This month we celebrate the birth of Jesus. In Luke 4:18, Jesus stated why he came -
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed."
He came to give the hopeless hope, love the unlovely and to set us free. We were created free. We were also created with a free will. We chose to abandon God. In doing so, we chose to become entrapped by sin. In our life of bondage, we go from one tormentor to another seeking freedom where there is no freedom. We exchange one set of shackles for another.
Until we look to that manger in Bethlehem, we will not be free. God has offered us an escape from the cycle we are tethered to. He came to pay the penalty of our sins, through his death, and grant us a new life through defeating death by his resurrection. By confessing that he is who he claimed to be, the son of God, and believing in our hearts that he accomplished his mission, death, burial and resurrection we can be free once more.
In this life, we may be caught by a situation or object that seems impossible to break free from. God has granted us the power and the gift of freedom through him to overcome all obstacles and be truly free.
While we celebrate his birth, let us not forget the reason he came and that was to set us free.