This talk about freedom has been interesting, sure, but what now? What if I’ve done business with Jesus (or rather the other way around) and have gotten a pretty good grasp on what it means to be free spiritually, emotionally, financially, intellectually, and creatively? What if I’m living out of a place of liberty in every way possible?
Well, first, you should write a book, because that’s super weird and cool. But second, if you are exactly where God wants you to be in each of these aspects, you’ve got a job to do: turn around and extend that freedom to others. And really, you don’t have to wait until you’ve mastered them all. If the Lord has gifted you in a certain area, be generous with that. Are you in a healthy place with your money? Teach a class for college kids. Do you feel emotionally balanced? Host a small group for single moms. Is creativity something you’re passionate about? Get together with a group of friends once a month to practice your art.
The most important facet of all this is the spiritual one: Christ died to set souls free. We aren’t pursuing freedom apart from the souls it belongs to. Your waitress who is taking too long getting your appetizer has a soul that needs to experience freedom. The cop helping direct traffic has a desperate longing for rescue buried beneath attempts to feel adequate. Everywhere you go, people are spiritual beings with a hole that can only be filled by redemption. They are spiritually sick, and you’ve got massive amounts of the antidote.
As Jesus interacted with the people in His path, He met both physical and spiritual needs, but those who believed always met freedom. A few individuals couldn’t let go of their agendas or beliefs to receive that kind of liberty: Judas and the rich young ruler come to mind as missing the only true freedom they could ever know. So there’s a sense in which you can’t force anyone to accept what is extended to them. But that shouldn’t stop you from offering it.
Oh, friends, if we could glimpse how much we’ve been given, what all we’d been freed from, we would run around town like the proverbial Lady Wisdom (get it? from Proverbs?), calling out to all who have ears to hear: “Life! This is where you can find life! Stop existing. Quit cowering in fear and depression and stress and bondage. Come be free!” To whom much is given, much is required. We have been given abundant life—what else can we do but offer it abundantly?
This study began with an admittedly nerdy discussion of nouns and verbs and adjectives, but the bottom line was this—that what you do springs out of who you are. You can free others because you are free. Free people free people. Extend what you’ve experienced. Go look in the gutters of this world, the bars, the strip clubs, the rehab clinics, the brothels. One of Jesus’ most constant criticisms from the religious people was that He mixed with an exquisitely unclean crowd. It was through hanging out with the broken and messy that He chose to introduce grace. I long for us to become that kind of kingdom. We are sent out to proclaim freedom to the captives, wherever and whomever they may be. And until that mission is accomplished, we’re invincible—we’re free.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”