How would you define freedom? Although we usually associate it with opportunities to pursue our rights, ambitions, and dreams without hindrance from government, Jesus spoke of a deeper form of liberty—a freedom that pertains to the condition of our souls. God wants to free us from every internal form of bondage that prevents us from becoming all that He created us to be. The method for achieving this kind of freedom does not come through war or revolution, but by the knowledge of truth. That’s why Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32).
Although it may seem like we already have all the freedom we need, at one point or another we’ve all been held captive. First of all, before we were saved, we were enslaved to sin. But Jesus came to set us free by paying our sin debt in full. On the cross, He made a way for us to be forgiven and declared righteous (Luke 19:10). However, because we still live in a fallen world with all sorts of deceptions, difficulties, and hurts, we may still have hidden areas of bondage that the Lord wants us to deal with so we can live in true freedom.
Jesus came to set us free by paying our sin debt in full.
In the case of hidden captivities, ignorance is not bliss. If we leave these areas unaddressed, they will stunt our spiritual growth, prevent the Lord from working effectively in and through us, and even hinder our testimony. Other people soon notice when our behavior doesn’t match our profession of faith. So let’s unearth any points of bondage in our souls and bring them into the light of God’s truth.
The first area to liberate is our minds. When I was young, I was held captive by the false belief that if I sinned after being saved, I could go to hell. I remember kneeling by my bed every night pleading, “Oh God, whatever I’ve done today, please forgive me and save me again.” I can’t describe the relief and freedom I felt when I discovered the truth of my eternal security. This is why it’s so important to know what the Bible teaches about such important matters of the faith. If we just accept everything we’re taught without comparing it to God’s Word, we could remain locked in the spiritual prison of false beliefs. But knowing the truth sets us free (John 8:32).
Next, we need to be freed from sinful practices. This begins with an accurate understanding of our position in Christ. As God’s children, we have His divine power and promises, which provide everything we need to live a godly life (2 Peter 1:3-4). The Holy Spirit within us can triumph over any form of bondage when He controls our lives.
The Holy Spirit within us can triumph over any form of bondage when He controls our lives.
Much of our problem with habitual sin is an acceptance of worldly thinking rather than the truth of God’s Word. For instance, the prevailing attitude today is that freedom means doing whatever we want. But the truth is, whatever sin we have to repeatedly confess to God has a hold on us. The natural outcome of tolerating sin in our lives is enslavement to it. The only way to overcome it is to walk by the Spirit so we won’t carry out the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16)
Third, we need freedom from emotional bondage. This one may be the most difficult to recognize because it lies buried deep within us and often develops very early in our lives. One of the signs of emotional bondage is an inability to conquer a particular sin. We may even hate the sin but feel powerless to stop because we’re not aware of the emotion that is fueling it. The only way to be free is to ask the Lord to search our hearts and show us the truth about ourselves (Psalms 139:23-24).
I’ve experienced this kind of bondage personally. I didn’t recognize it in my life, and for many years I couldn’t understand why I struggled. Then a few wise and courageous friends showed me what was hiding beneath the surface. What a liberating moment that was when I finally realized God’s love for me was not based on my behavior but on His nature.
Are you struggling with some form of emotional bondage? It could be debilitating fear, anxiety, unforgiveness, bitterness, or jealousy. Or perhaps you’re burdened with a sense of failure, unworthiness, rejection, or insecurity. The Lord wants to help you face whatever emotions you’ve buried. Would you be willing to ask Him to reveal and heal any area of emotional bondage that may be hindering your life? As a believer in Christ, you are forgiven, accepted, and loved. This is the truth about your relationship with Him, and it will set you free.
Liberty is a daily choice to believe the truth as revealed in God’s Word and respond accordingly. As you boldly claim your identity in Christ and walk in His ways, you’ll discover the joy of true freedom.
Charles F. Stanley
P.S. As you celebrate Independence Day this year, remember to thank the Lord for the freedoms He’s allowed us to have in this country. I urge you to make full use of this liberty to spread the good news about our Lord and Savior and to pray fervently for our nation. Enclosed is a bookmark to help you do just that. I hope it is a blessing to you.