“You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” – Jesus (John 8:32)
We know that Jesus sets us free from our sin, but are we free from those things we call “liberties” (our freedoms we have in Christ)? You may ask, “how could I not be free from something that is a freedom?” I’m glad you asked.
A liberty is anything that is not specifically or strictly forbidden by God, but left up to our conscience as whether we can do it or not. Things such as drinking alcohol (not to the point of drunkeness which is forbidden), watching movies, etc. are liberties we have.
Paul said “all things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (1 Corinthians 6:12). Again he would say all things are lawful but not all things are helpful or edify. (1 Corinthians 10:23). Scripture also references laying aside weights (Hebrews 12:1) that weigh us down, being a good soldier and not getting entangled in the affairs of this world (2 Timothy 2:4), and running this “race” of the Christian life in such a way as to receive a prize as runners try to run with as little on as possible (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
All this back to our point on liberties and how not only can they weigh us down, but they can actually enslave us and if they enslave us we cannot call them a liberty. So how do we know if something is truly a liberty in our lives or not? It is the Freedom Test and it is only 1 question test:
Can you NOT do something?
Pretty simple. That TV show you watch – can you not watch it for a week? Those football games you plan your Sundays around – can you not watch them for a day? That alcohol that you drink – can you not drink it? The coffee that you drink – can you not drink it? The movies that you watch – can you not watch them?
Now a good way to test your answer to the question is to NOT do that particular thing. If you sweat thinking about that or get mad saying “you’ve gone too far now Pastor Mike”, then that thing is not really a liberty in your life. It is in fact enslaving you because if you HAVE to do something, you aren’t free from it. You might say, “it’s not that I HAVE to do it, but I just don’t feel like giving it up.” Well often that’s an excuse. The test isn’t to think about giving something up but to do it. It is actually healthy to try so you can see for yourself.
So instead of watching football this weekend, take your family out for a drive somewhere. Instead of having that wine or beer, drink water for the week. Instead of watching your favorite shows, play a board game/cards with your spouse or read a book.
Being enslaved to something is never a good thing, no matter how pleasurable it may be. Being free, truly free, is where you will find the most joy and then when you are free, those liberties will be truly that – liberties – and you will be free to enjoy them, but not enslaved to them.