What is Freedom?
Freedom is the ability to live our lives submitted to God. It is the power to make choices through His strength for our own good, and that will bring Him honor. Freedom is the lifestyle of not being enslaved to something or someone.
I have been asked, “Is freedom a journey or a destination?” My answer to that question is “Yes!” Throughout this website you will hear about freedom as both a journey and a destination.
Freedom is a beautiful journey as a lifestyle of growth and progress. It is not about perfection, but is something we are committed to each day. It is a journey of focus and direction and a consistent way of life, rather than a hit and miss or haphazard lifestyle. Yes, we will mess up. We will make mistakes. However, when freedom has become a lifestyle, there will be a quick turning from the old ways back to the new way of freedom.
The Bible uses several words that describe this journey among which are: freedom, abundant life, and also sanctification. Sanctification is a Biblical term used to describe the process of becoming pure and more like Jesus. When we are on the journey to living free, we are committed to growing and learning. Again, this does not mean perfection, but it means being committed to getting up when we fall.
This journey to living free grows out of our relationship with Jesus. The Bible refers to this relationship in many places, but one of the most descriptive is found in Hebrews 12:1-2 “… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith…”
There are also times when I refer to freedom as a destination. I may speak of my own life as being free or invite others into a lifestyle of becoming free from bondage—not because I have arrived at some point of perfection, but because when I compare my life now to the way I lived just over ten years ago I say, “YES! I live in freedom.” Nevertheless, I continue to learn and grow in freedom in many areas of my life each day.
The comparison of how I used to live deep in addiction is very different from how I live my life today, and I sometimes refer to this as “living in freedom”. Have I arrived at perfection? Absolutely not! The difference is that I was once controlled and consumed by the thoughts, desires, and actions related to sex addiction. That is no longer the case for me. It is not only that I refrain from acting out on those activities, but there is also a more significant difference: the addiction that used to control me has lost its power and control over my life. Any struggle with thoughts or temptation carries much less impact than it once did.
Another way to describe this freedom to be gained in a particular area of life is an example that Dr. William Struthers, a neuroscientist, uses when talking about our thought life. He compares our thought patterns to how the Grand Canyon was created. The Grand Canyon was formed by rushing water that flowed down from higher elevations to lower elevations. Over time, the water’s path wore grooves into the rocks. The constant flow made the path larger and deeper until eventually it became the Grand Canyon. Dr. Struthers goes on to compare how our thought patterns create such a path in our brain. This path is etched into our brain like a groove until it becomes the easiest path for thoughts to follow. When we desire to make changes in our life, we need to create a new “Grand Canyon” in our brain for the thoughts to follow. At the beginning, the easiest path for our thoughts is going to be the old path that has been created. However, through time, effort, and God’s help we can create a new path. Eventually, the new path will become the “norm” for our behavior and thought patterns.
Again, this does not mean you will not be tempted or that you will never fail. When thoughts come you will still have a choice to make, but the new path you are creating will become easier. At the beginning of establishing this new thought pattern it most likely will not feel very “free”. It will be a difficult challenge and just plain hard work! But as this new pattern becomes established in your life, it will feel like freedom in comparison to your past way of life. That is the destination of freedom!
Let me add a word of caution. Even as you progress in your freedom, be wise! This is not a time to let your guard down or to think you do not have to be cautious. You must guard your heart and remain in accountability. Continue using the tools that were successful in bringing you this far. Be confident, but not arrogant, in your freedom.
God’s Word says a lot about freedom and the abundant life that He has for us. Here are just a few of the verses:
John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:36 “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Romans 8:21 ” The creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
Hebrews 12:1-2 “… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
I invite you to join me on the journey to living free! This journey is not meant to be taken alone, but in community with others who are like-minded and have their eyes fixed on Jesus.