How to Find Freedom Through Bondage | God’s Paradoxes Continue …

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Hot on the heels of July 1st (Canada Day) and July 4th (US Independence Day), I want to explore the idea of financial freedom.

Unfortunately, too many of us think freedom is an unfettered ability to do what we want.  The problem is that this form of freedom just becomes another type of bondage – bondage to ones own selfish desires.

Let’s consider the all-you-can-eat buffet.

I’m thinking about the buffet because right now I’m away from Papua New Guinea, and one of the things I’ve wanted to do since I’ve been here is eat.  One would think that I would be perfectly happy stuffing my face with whatever catches my eye.

The reality is that if you eat with complete freedom (eating whatever, whenever you want), you don’t ultimately feel good about it.

You’ve satisfied the most pressing desires.  You’ve indulged yourself.  You’re free, but you’re not content.

Do you remember the young man who we call the Prodigal Son?  I think you do.  His ultimate aim in life was to be free.  Free from morals.  Free from obligation. Free from commitment.  Free from concern.  He even went away in search of a life without boundaries, rules, and restrictions.

But the only thing the Prodigal Son discovered was a bondage worse than anything else he had experiences.  It was the bondage of selfishness.  He was the master that could never be satisfied.  He was the owner who could never be content.  No matter how much he had, enjoyed, or consumed, he was always hungry for more.

He was a slave to his own selfish desires even though he had an unfettered ability to do whatever he wanted.

I think some of us think that financial freedom is the ability to spend ones own money on whatever we want.

Thus, those who are in debt dream about a day when they don’t need to check the bank account before deciding if they do or don’t want to do something.  They anticipate the day when they can buy whatever they want.  They think that is true financial freedom.

Can I suggest that when your only goal is to satisfy all those fleshly spending urges and indulge in your financial whims, you’ll likely never feel free?

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:13-14 NIV)

This may be saying it in the wrong way, but I sort of think life is about choosing the right master – not the right freedoms.  One of the lies we tell ourselves is that we’re going to be the best master.  As long as we are getting everything to satisfy ourselves, we think we’ll discover meaning and happiness.

Instead, the Bible challenges us to use our freedom to be enslaved to God.  I think the key behind Gal. 5:13-14 is that when we serve others in love, we forsake our freedoms because of our service to God.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV)

Freedom to indulge the sinful self is not God’s ultimate purpose for our lives.  God gives us the freedom of choice so we can willingly give up ourselves in service of God and in service of man.  Yes, he does indeed wish for his people to have certain freedoms.  The greatest freedom to God is the freedom of Choice.  However, with that freedom, God wants us to choose to belong to him.

Thus, the pressing question we must each ask ourselves is – am I using my financial freedom (or journey towards financial freedom) for self indulgence or for loving my neighbor?

Comments

  1. says

    I am on a journey towards financial freedom. But if I were fortunate to one day grow my net worth to $1 million, I wouldn’t want that to be my crowning achievement in life. I’d feel a sense of responsibility to be a good steward of all that wealth.

    “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded.” Luke 12:48

    From this verse, I sense that ultimate wealth won’t make life easier – in a way it’ll be more challenging. God will want us to make decisions with our money that will further His kingdom, not just our desires. I pray for the wisdom to do so.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

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