In a few days, we will be celebrating the 4th of July. As we prepare to celebrate the birth of American Independence, I urge you to reflect on a profound sense of freedom, the freedom that we can only attain through Christ. The Bible says in John 8:32, "You will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free." Notice that I intentionally capitalized the word truth. Why?
For me, that Truth, the only Truth, is Jesus Christ. Jesus said to him: I am the way, the Truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6. If the Bible says that the Truth will set you free and that Jesus is the Truth, then by consequence, we can state that Jesus will set you free. He is the way and the only path to freedom. Yes, the world can give us a limited amount of liberation, like the one we are celebrating this month, but we'll only receive complete deliverance and freedom when we give our lives to Christ. It is when we commit our life to follow Him and obey Him that we experience what total freedom is.
With all the imposed demands of man that we encounter inside many religious groups, without even noticing, many become slaves of their beliefs, faults, and weaknesses. Have you ever asked yourself if you are acting like God's freed sons and daughters or as slaves?
The dictionary defines a slave as a person who lacks their freedom and rights because they are subject to the will and control of another person.
In church, a person becomes a slave when they follow a man instead of following God. They seem like they are robots. They do not question or discern what they hear; they do not pass it through the Word of God. They accept everything they hear or read as something true, no matter how wrong the received message could be, without taking the time to examine it for themselves. Slaves lack a relationship with God and only have their eyes fixed on a pastor or a leader, or they are only thinking about how they can excel. Unfortunately, they do not have their eyes on our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Slaves, on many occasions, live on appearances to impress or please the people around them. They do things not to be punished, not because they have conviction. Spiritual slaves live self-condemned because they are never enough. They feel guilty because they cannot meet the expectations of others, no matter how illusory or unreal those expectations may be. They are like the Pharisees who demanded things that they could not fulfill.
It is sad because the Truth should make us free, not slaves. In Christ, we are free because of his great sacrifice on the cross. Galatians 5:13 says: "For you, brothers, have been called to liberty; only do not use freedom as an occasion for the flesh, but serve one another out of love." We must live with freedom, love, and faithfulness. Spiritual slaves only give what others ask of them; on the contrary, those who know they are free because of Christ give more. They give without measure because their desire to serve God comes from their hearts. When you know you are free, you are not waiting to be recognized because of what you do; what you do, you do it for God, and you do it out of gratitude and love.
6 And because you are sons, God sent into your hearts the Spirit of his Son, which cries: Abba, Father! 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, also an heir of God through Christ. Galatians 4:6-7. Those who know they are God's sons and daughters know that it is not by their strength but by God's. They have a relationship with God because they know He is the source of all Truth and true freedom.
A person that knows their identity does not seek reward because they know that obeying will bring fruit to their lives. They know what their purpose is, and they give everything to fulfill it. They know their identity and that their future does not depend on any man or woman but on God.
Ask yourself again, are you acting like God's freed sons or daughters or as slaves?
Unfortunately, along the way, we forget our nature by becoming slaves. We forget that in Christ, we are free. The trials suffered have been so strong that perhaps they have made you sad, disappointed, and so tired that the only thing you feel is that everything seems to be so impossible to achieve or reach. These troubles have made you take the place of a slave who suffers and depends on others to get their identity. When a person gets to this point, they become vulnerable to deception; they surrender their will to someone or something. At this point, they have given up their authority and passion.
Be careful; and aware because it is there, in your place of vulnerability, when the wolf dresses up as a sheep and extends a hand to you, not to save you but to wrap you up and manipulate you. You must be careful who you listen to during the trial because the time it will take you to get out of it will depend on that. It happened to the people of Israel when leaving Egypt, whose mentality of slaves did not let them see the promised land, and they wandered in the desert for 40 years.
A person without an identity is easy to deceive because they will try to fill that void at all costs. And by doing so, they often become slaves to emotions and external manipulations. On the contrary, someone who knows who they are in Christ knows that their well-being does not depend on anything external but their Heavenly Father.
Do not let your circumstances or the people around you enslave you, scrutinize, discern, and study the Word of God every day. Take nothing for granted until you have passed it through the filter of God's Word. Do not look at men because they can fail or err, put your eyes on God and let the Holy Spirit guide you. Do not give up your son or daughter's place; do not give up your freedom to please men. Rejoice because we were freed by the only Truth that is Jesus Christ.