Each year instead of making New Year’s resolutions I chose a word for the year. This year’s word is freedom. I’ve set some specific goals for things in my life that burden or imprison me that I want to experience freedom from and I am working toward those specific goals. But more than that, I continually work on pursuing an attitude and posture of living rooted in the truth that I am deeply loved by a God and God has set me free. It is an insult and, more importantly, it breaks God’s heart that I voluntarily return to captivity – whether to a way of living or to an attitude. Most times the bondage I return to is at its core fear. Fear of failing, fear of disappointing, fear of things out of my control.
Sometimes the prison of fear is so powerful there’s no need to lock the cell doors. Your fear creates a willingness to self-imprison. Steve Maraboli
A song that has come to mean a lot to me is “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music. It is a powerful song with a repetitive chorus that says, “I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God.” I listen to it every day and I repeat that truth to myself throughout the day.
Because I am paying attention to the idea of freedom and the bondage of fear, I have been more aware this year just how much our culture is in bondage to fear and anxiety. Our conversations, our social media postings, our news cycles, and our economic and political rhetoric repeatedly come from a posture of fear. We look at neighbors and strangers with fear. We receive differing opinions as threats. We look around us without any sense of hope. And by “we” I mean followers of Jesus. The same Jesus who repeatedly tells us to not be afraid and to have courage.
What if faith, not fear, could be our default reaction when we feel threatened and vulnerable? What if the people of God could surrender our fears, insecurities and doubts and refuse to imprison ourselves anymore in order to live and love as the liberated people of God? What might God be able to do in our lives and in our world?
Galatians 5:1 says, “Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.” Many of us fail to realize that we are the ones who have harnessed ourselves with slavery.
Fear is not from God. Slavery is not God’s plan.
May we live as the liberated people of God and may we use our liberation to be a light to a world desperate to be set free.