What is freedom?  I mean real freedom.  How does it feel?  What is it like to be truly free?

Truly.  Free.

Of course, there are some rousing clips from films about it. 

Braveheart.  “You have come to fight as free men, and free men you are.  What will you do with that freedom?

Robin Hood (Prince of Thieves).  “The Sheriff calls us outlaws.  But I say we are free.  And one free man defending his home is more powerful…  than ten hired soldiers.”

Freedom.  Being at liberty.  Unfettered.  Unrestrained.  Unhindered.  Boundless.  Free.

There are almost 100 Wikipedia pages about it.  Songs, films, science, philosophy.  It’s clearly pretty popular.

I was discussing freedom with some friends recently.  We were chatting about whether or not Christians are free.  I remembered a conversation I had some years ago with a student of mine.  We were discussing Christian attitudes to sex.  It took the ‘normal’ route for such discussions.  Him raising the ‘so, do you believe in sex before marriage?’ issue.  (I love the wording of that question – it amuses me every time).  Me, responding with something along the lines of, ‘I think sex is something that’s special for marriage, not for any other relationship’.  Him coming back (a little more boldly than some with whom I’ve had this conversation) with, ‘you’re not married, are you?’  (I was early twenties at the time).  And so I dropped the bombshell.  ‘No, I’m not married.  Yes, I am a virgin’.

This didn’t really compute for a while.  But once I’d managed to convince him that I was telling the truth, he switched seamlessly from disbelief to ridicule.  It was hilarious to him that he’d found someone in their twenties who’d still not managed to ‘get any’ yet.  And so I had to explain that this was a matter of perspective.  If I were wandering through life desperate for sex but simply unable to find someone willing to oblige, then perhaps I was worthy of pity (or of his offering of ridicule).  But for me, as someone who believed that sex was exclusively for marriage, to actually get to my wedding day without having sex was an achievement.  (Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I was inundated with offers).  My faith didn’t restrict me and force me to live a boring life.  It gave me freedom to live life as my creator intended.  He thought my faith bound me.  I know it frees me.

Jesus himself offered freedom.  He echoed the words of Isaiah the prophet when he said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners…” 

And I look at people like my student and see people trapped by society.  Trapped by a skewed way of seeing things.  A view that screams it is free, all the while holding people to ransom.  I know that this, too, is a matter of perspective.  Yet I yearn for people to discover true freedom that comes from giving yourself up to the only one who can truly bring liberty. 

I’ll finish with a little illustration from that classic children’s game stuck-in-the-mud.  You know the one?  Someone’s ‘it’ and has to charge around catching everyone.  When you’re caught, you stand still and hope that someone who is still running free will come and free you. 

Are you running free?  If not, the offer’s there.  If you are, make sure you stay free, and make sure you help others.

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3 Responses to Freedom.

  1. Rob Floyd says:

    One of the amazing things about faith is that God places it in our lives so that we might be free. The grace of God allows us to move forward at breakneck speed (if we so wish), to fail, to back up and try again without the hint of condemnation. Paul himself ventured off into Asia only to be turned around by the Holy Spirit. And, as you point out, freedom equips us to walk in God’s holiness in a way that the ‘bound up’ mind can’t possibly understand.

    Love your post – found you on your wife’s blog in her ‘top bloggers’ list! Glad she wasn’t just being nice. 😉

    • nickparish says:

      Hi Rob,
      Thanks for your comment. It can be so difficult to use our freedom in the best possible way. We need, like Paul, to ensure we’re listening to prompts from God as to whether our freedom is being well employed.
      As for finding me on my wife’s blog, I think you may have got me confused with someone else… Perhaps you’re referring to Tanya’s blog over at Thorns and Gold? It’s the only one I’m aware as being in a top-blogs sort of list. I know Tanya, and we are married, but not to each other! 🙂

  2. Mary says:

    What I’m thinking is about another kind of freedom. Just read your blog on Grandad. And the thing that keeps coming back and back and back to me with joy is these two words: “Dad’s FREE!” Now, that’s freedom! Free from all the horrid hoists and purees and other people feeding him; free from trying to make his brain work properly and compute things; free from that old body that was little more than skin and bone (I told him one day I was surprised all the inside bits didn’t fall out) that was 6 ft tall and less than 37 kg weight; free from the burden of living – given the freedom of living. Free! Free!! Free….

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