Love Letters | Boundaries | Freedom
To those who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
Most people have heard the latter part of this verse, but few quote the former—and that puts it in context. Jesus was speaking to people who considered themselves His followers. They showed up for the healings, miracles, and comforting talks about God. But Jesus wasn’t impressed. He had another set of criteria that determined whether or not someone was serious about knowing Him. He looked for faithfulness. Obedience. Long-term, stick-it-out-when-it’s-not-fun commitment. Anybody could be a Fourth of July sparkler, excited for a time and then burn out. Those weren’t real disciples. They were seeking sensations, not truth. Real disciples have discovered that abandonment to Jesus is everything, and it is THAT truth that sets us free.
But free from what?
In order to be set free, we must be enslaved by something. Most definitions of freedom don’t go far enough, focusing on the absence of boundaries or limitations. That’s certainly not what Jesus meant because He had just talked about discipleship. A disciple is a disciplined follower of another’s agenda. So how do freedom and discipleship go together? Our version of “freedom” is actually an enslavement to selfishness. Left to ourselves, we are slaves of our appetites, passions, and desires. Consider the “freedom” of a junkie passed out with a needle in his arm, the greedy rich popping pills and guzzling alcohol, or the most confused people on the planet who believe they can change genders by wishing: a boy today, a girl tomorrow, a dolphin next week, “I don’t know what I am.” Is that freedom? Jesus redefined freedom as the desire and power to please God. Without Him, we are enslaved by our sin natures. With Him, we are free to live out our destinies.
Final Thought: True freedom is found only in total submission to the word of God. Anything less is slavery to sin.
Prayer: Father, I have defined freedom the way the world does, and it’s wrong. Jesus paid a high price to set me free from the world’s definition. I want to live in total freedom, abandoned to your will, not bound by chains of sin. In Jesus’ name, Amen.