My 4-year-old son was horror-struck when he discovered the inner workings of a bee trap he found hanging from a tree near the school. “They…NEVER…come out? You mean, they’re trapped? How could ANYONE ever DO that to a BEE? That is SO MEAN!” he cried. The prospect of painful bee stings for him or his playground friends could not convince him a bee trap was a valid preventative tool. Those bees were tricked into a situation from which they could not escape. And that, to his precious little mind, was unforgivable.
We’ve all, at times, felt trapped in circumstances from which there seemed no escape. Maybe a habit looms large over our lives, a giant threatening to ensnare more deeply with every step we take. Or maybe temptation seeks to steal control of our minds, luring us away from solid ground. Or maybe something beyond our control has swept in and taken over our lives, entangling us in oppression.
We celebrate freedom every year, but it seems so far beyond our reach. Recent news headlines are evidence enough that the land of the free is a place of bondage in so many ways. In a land where slavery was supposedly abolished, we live as slaves to the consequences of our own choices and others’ actions.
Where is the freedom we claim to possess?
I refuse to believe we were created for bondage. We were not placed on this earth to be enslaved to never-ending moral decay. We were planted here by a loving gardener who desires for us to grow and flourish and have life that is truly life.
The Bible says that we have an enemy who is a life-stealer: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” But there is a Savior who is a life-giver: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Freedom comes not in doing whatever we so desire, for we can never be free from the consequences of our decisions. Freedom comes in knowing whose we are and why we’re here, and in living to fulfill the GOOD things our Creator has planned for us.
In my own life, I’ve witnessed hardened criminals become model citizens—all because they were touched by the freeing power of a life-transforming Savior. I’ve seen hopeless drug addicts released from their addictions. Violent gang members turned gentle and kind. If our Savior can do miracles in what seems the most impossible of circumstances, how much more in our own lives?
It is written that, “we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” He understands our daily battle with temptation, and yet, because he has overcome, he is able to help us to overcome.
Maybe your own struggle has led you to think life is not worth living. But know this: you can be free. In Jesus, there is freedom. And because you can be free, there is more than enough reason to live.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
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