I watched Harriet, the movie about Harriet Tubman’s life and she says, “I’ll be free or die.” Those of us who’ve always enjoyed basic freedoms can hardly understand their worth. Free to marry who I choose and live with them. Free to protect my kids and know them all my life. Free to speak up when I think something is wrong. Free to walk away from people who say I’m worthless.
These liberties are mine and many more, but I don’t always think of myself as free. Evil is served by us forgetting our freedom. When our thoughts slide toward choicelessness, we say, “I should eat less sugar” or “I have to eat less sugar,” or whatever else you want to do. We eliminate the option to do what we consider bad in an effort to force ourselves to do what’s best, but humans don’t like being forced. We rebel and make a poor choice or we make a better choice and are angry about it. Believing we don’t have a choice scares us so badly, we can’t see any of our options clearly.
When we look squarely at our options, knowing they are all available to us, we can see things as they really are. From a place of truth, we decide what we want most and feel happy with our decision. I’ve begun changing my words to remind myself that I’m free. “I could eat less sugar” and “What if I ate less sugar?” Do you feel the difference? It feels lighter. It feels more hopeful. The pressure and judgement are gone. Suddenly, we can see our whole array of options and decide what we want. That’s what freedom looks like.
And God thought our freedom to choose so important, He submitted to the pain of the cross to salvage it. He wanted us free to choose Him. When you feel beat down or sure you have no options, remember God’s promise to us:
“If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.” John 8:36
One of the most discouraging things Satan whispers to us is, “It will always be this way.” But it won’t. Sara thought she’d be childless forever and then, she wasn’t. Harriet was a slave and then she wasn’t. Here’s what she said of the moment she walked into free Pennsylvania:
“When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold through trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaven.”