India completes 65 years of freedom on 15th August, marking the nation’s freedom from several centuries of colonial rule. We need to be always grateful to those who sacrificed all they had, including their rights to make our freedom possible.
Even as the nation prepares to celebrate the momentous occasion, we thank God for our freedom as a nation. However, one question comes to mind: are we truly free? It is often the case that when we are released from certain bondage, we are caught in the clutches of another kind of bondage.
Take the story of Onesimus the slave in the epistle of Philemon. Onesimus had been one of Philemon’s slaves who had run away. But never had he envisioned that he would be a slave to hunger, insecurity, fear and ridicule. Ultimately, losing all that he had, he finds himself in prison where he meets the apostle Paul who leads him to true freedom.
Bondage constitutes bondage, whether physical, psychological, political or spiritual. In an effort to be free of physical bondage many people struggle, only to find themselves under the shackles of other forms of bondage. Are you one of those individuals who lives in bondage of fear, depression, insecurity, habits you cannot break, thoughts or attitudes you cannot elude or sinful behavior you cannot escape from?
Jesus Christ liberated humankind from our old ties to an old life in order that we might have new life in Christ. He paid the supreme price for our freedom by offering himself as a sacrifice on our behalf. The triumph of Christ over the powers of darkness made our deliverance possible. Jesus’ death unto sin was God’s provision for all humankind to be liberated from Satan’s dominion. That amounts to true freedom.
On the other hand, freedom has social implications. Until and unless people around us are free, we cannot enjoy our freedom. Recently, I happened to visit a family where the woman had been bed-ridden for over 15 years. Having to take care of all her needs, the husband was not free to attend to other matters.
What of the situation of children in our country? Alarming statistics reveal that every 15 seconds a child dies; 56000 women die during childbirth; 1.2 million children are being trafficked for sex trade; the list is endless if you include cases of poverty, illiteracy, disease, child labour and more. Our country cannot be fully free or liberated as long as these problems continue. And I believe, it is the responsibility of every Christian to work towards the deliverance of people from their bondage. Having said that… true freedom comes when we surrender ourselves to the will of God.
Getting back to the time of the Apostle Paul, 50% of people living in the Roman Empire were slaves, many of who were Christians. But in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.” He did not encourage them to protest or agitate; rather he urged them to obey and surrender. The principle he advocated was – through obedience and love we become free of bondage and free to change others.
Now is the time to make your declaration of independence; it requires a faith transaction. Simply entrust your life to God, giving Him full control. If you do so, you will begin to experience a truly liberated life which is what freedom is all about. It is the freedom to be yourself, which in turn will help you beckon others into a free life.