I don’t think it’s possible to understand freedom apart from the freedom we have in Christ. Once a man has tasted the freedom of heart that Jesus gives, he can never again by enslaved by tyranny. Our founders understood the connection between the heart of God and the natural yearning in the hearts of men and women to be free.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (“unalienable” – cannot be sold or transferred)
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
Roots of Freedom – Freedom is the very nature of the Kingdom of God; oppression is the essence of the kingdom of darkness. Wherever the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. Wherever freedom exists, people naturally gravitate toward Jesus. Spiritual and natural warfare are always about the enemy motivating an oppressed people to oppress others. God is always in the business of setting the captives free. We should not be too surprised when these forces collide and, as Christians, we shouldn’t be passive about standing in, and defending, freedom. It’s a Biblical mandate. God gave us a free will and some people are going to choose the wrong team and they are demonically motivated to take away your freedom. You will have to decide whether and when to defend the boundaries of your own freedom.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Gal 5:1-2 NKJV
Religious oppression – It can be even more complicated. There are times when people on your own team will encroach upon your freedom. “Religions” (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc.) do have a reputation for legalism (oppression of the heart) – getting people to do what they don’t want to do. However, real and Biblical spirituality, premised on a relationship with Jesus, is learning to pursue your heart’s desires and finding the will of God in those same endeavors. We live for a purpose larger than ourselves and we live to see personal dreams come true. It’s exciting!
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. Rom 8:18-21 NIV
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Cor 3:16-17 NIV
The Cost of Freedom – Jesus came to set the captives free. Think about that concept. Real freedom costs money. You can be totally saved, spirit-filled and on your way to Heaven. But, if you live in poverty you are really a slave to a job or a handout, unable to attain your dreams. We don’t deny the freedom that comes with salvation, the freedom we experience in worship, and the freedom that comes from loving relationships. Those things don’t cost money. I’m simply suggesting that “abundance” includes the financial flexibility to be “free” to ______. You can fill in the blank.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10 NASU
Why some choose poverty – I’ve experienced the chagrin of showing people ways to multiply their finances only to have them say, “No thanks.” Why? Freedom is spelled r-e-s-p-o-n-s-i-b-i-l-i-t-y. The freedom to be entrepreneurial, multiply finances, take risks and pursue your dream always implies trying… with the possibility of failure. Risk is something many people won’t tolerate. It feels safer to choose the path of least resistance, lay low and do what we’ve always done or what others expect. Some actually choose religious or political oppression! Listen to what that attitude sounds like.
All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” Num 14:2-4 NIV
The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” Ex 16:3 NIV
Failure is good! – Want to know a secret? Failure can motivate us to succeed. We can learn from mistakes. Truly free societies are always predicated on free markets where some succeed and some don’t. Breaking the stronghold of poverty in a culture or a nation can’t be done with handouts or trying to protect people from failures. We all need to learn responsibility. If we don’t, poverty is a guarantee. Dictators, communists, and socialists don’t create wealth or freedom for their people. They oppress them into poverty and subservience.
Let me say it politically… the Kingdom of God uses “free” market capitalism to create the wealth that is used for ministry. Socialism pretends to have a heart for the poor, but reliance on the state eliminates wealth creation and discourages responsibility from entire cultures and nations. People who have come out from under the tyranny of communism are often left still wanting their government (or somebody) to provide for them. Freedom from oppression doesn’t releasincally translate to personal initiative and responsibility. We have to embrace the responsibility that comes with freedom.
Suggestion – If you’re saved (and free), I can assure you that you have, are, or soon will be exposed to the trials and discouragement that go with failure. You already know that. What you may not know is that those setbacks can be used to lay a foundation in your character for success. That’s the genius of freedom. We can fail and succeed. You are guaranteed your fair share of failures – HELLO! However, all of creation is waiting with eager expectation to see you use your freedom to move beyond your failures and succeed personally… and then to use that success as leverage to help others succeed as well. It’s fun and it includes finances. It’s ministry!
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Rom 5:3-5 NASU
If you take a risk, encounter a few failures and stick with it, you will not be disappointed. God, Himself will promote you into things like wisdom and wealth and influence and long life for the sake of the Kingdom and because he loves you and because he loves the captives you will set free. You just have to sign up for the cost of admission. Bust a few doors down!
It was for freedom that Christ set us free… Gal 5:1 NASU