“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” Galatians 5:1
Our spiritual identity in Christ is to be free. Yet it would seem from our practice that many Christians are anything but free. They’re slaves to old habits, slaves to tradition, slaves to relationships, or slaves to the law. Instead of “onward Christian soldiers,” they’re “backward Christian soldiers.” All because they don’t really know what it means to be free.
So what does it mean to be free?
In one sentence: Allow Christ to take you captive.
When I was younger, a sparrow flew into my bedroom. After circling the room it landed on the windowsill, looked around, then spread its wings and once again took flight. A very brief flight. It crashed against the windowpane and fell to the floor.
It was obviously a tough little bird because it quickly recovered and tried again. Another brief flight, another crash to the floor. It was a little slower in recovering the second time but still determined, for there was another brief flight and another crash to the floor.
With mounting concern I tried to direct the sparrow toward the open window through which it had flown; but with no success. My efforts only made matters worse. Every time I came close the sparrow flew frantically away and would flap around before taking another kamikaze dive at the window pane.
It was losing feathers fast and I was worried about it breaking its neck. So instead of trying to shoo it toward the open window, I tried to catch it. After it fell to the floor for the umpteenth time, I managed to snag it. Folding my fingers gently around its wings and body I checked it over then took it outside and let it go. As I watched it fly away, I marvelled at the contrast. In my room, and without my help, the sparrow was trapped, powerless and vulnerable. But once it was released, it was empowered and free.
There’s a spiritual parallel. You will only be free when you allow Christ to take you captive. If you keep flapping around, keep on trying to do it in your own strength, you’ll never be free, you’ll stay trapped in the constraints of your own efforts. But if you let Him take you captive. If you let Him pick you up and gently carry you along, then, and only then, can He set you free. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” John 8:36.