We’ve heard the famous saying “Man is free but everywhere in chains”. It’s true that all men indeed seem to be pulled in different directions by some sort of slavery. Our free will often lead us to disobey God and make choices that take us away from His blessings. We are enslaved to many ungodly inclinations that have become the norm. The freedom we so casually enjoy today has become the reason for considerable despondency and trouble amongst us. Put on a spiritual magnifying glass and examine the habits and thoughts we pursue. Do any of these have a hold over us and keep us from spending more time with God?
- Social media, television, entertainment programs, concerts?
- Social gatherings, sports, fun activities, or parties with friends?
- Quest for knowledge or even a very busy work life?
- Food, beverages, alcohol, other addictions?
- The need to amass more wealth or power?
For different reasons the factors above promise us some kind of comfort, security, or freedom but in truth, they can have a greater grip on us like addictions. We are turned into slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved (2 Peter 2:19). Jesus says in John 8:34 “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.”
Although ordained in God’s likeness at the time of creation, once we disobeyed Him we’ve traded ourselves as slaves to all kinds of unrighteousness. We’ve fallen away to greater wrongdoing across the centuries and our consciences are now severed from God’s standards of holiness. Being heavily influenced to think, speak or act as we please we’ve adopted depraved trends from our homes, friend circles, social media; in addition to our own fleshly desires. (Romans 7:14-25).
While some people can get to being over-indulgent, others try to accommodate these habits less frequently. Either way, these take a deeper root over one’s life resulting in a quest for power, prestige, wealth, and possessions. In no time it gives rise to pride and greed – often destroying homes, relationships, reputations and health.
Few tend to seek peace while others question the purpose of their life at this stage and no pursuit on earth may seem to comfort anymore. “For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions – is not from the Father but is from the world” (1 John 2:16). There is a danger of being permanently sucked into greater indulgences – a way that may lead to eternal damnation.
A way out
The Bible says that Jesus Christ chose to free us from all such slavery (John 8:34-36). While the devil rejoices at the enslavement of man when his conscience and willpower is weakened, God extends His forgiveness and compassion to those who long for redemption. This calls for true repentance and belief in Christ. Romans 13:14 says “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” This means to obey Jesus’ commandments and to pursue a holy and righteous life rather than going after the pleasures and desires of the world.
We must realise that although Jesus never committed any sin, He died on the cross to take the penalty due for our sins. We must willfully put to death (give up) our old sinful nature (Romans 6:6-7) and stand firm by accepting the freedom Christ gives without submitting again to a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1). A clear line needs to be drawn on the hobbies or habits we take on if they stand in the way of our spiritual growth.
How can we stand firm?
Now that we have been extended the grace of God, His forgiveness reminds us to lead a life of commitment to God for we have been purchased by the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19). Jesus calls us His “friends” (John 15:15) and He wants a more intimate and personal relationship with each of us. He promises His Holy Spirit to comfort, encourage and guide us into His truth.
- It is imminent that we dedicate our time and strength to pursue studying the scriptures, attend a church that can mentor our spiritual walk, and spend time praying to God in our personal space.
- We must keep away from habits or situations that will tempt us to go back to sinful ways (Romans 6:15-18) but build a strong fellowship with believers who will encourage us to lead holy lives.
- Watch your words, thoughts, and temperament. James 1:19-26 reminds us to look into God’s law and correct ourselves. If we have wronged someone, we need to make up with that person. If we hold a grudge, extend forgiveness.
- Further on, we must guard ourselves against pride, greed, a wrong sense of self-righteousness, or bad influences that can dissuade us from being true followers of Christ.
God has created each one of us for a good purpose and to be co-heirs of His kingdom in heaven. He wants us to use our freedom to will and do what is proper in His sight. Galatians 5:13 – “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Not only does God want to renew our lives by freeing us completely from sin, but wants us to throw off everything that hinders our spiritual race and fix our eyes on Jesus so that we pass the baton to others as well (Hebrews 12:1-2).
So if your bags of gold, the vigour of youth or the privileges of life cause you to be a slave of sin, it’s time you reconsider the stakes and choose to accept the freedom Christ offers for free.