This Fourth of July did you wonder how many Americans knew what we were actually celebrating? Most people were just busy enjoying their barbecues, picnics, cook-outs, and other forms of entertainment. Even the few that know the true reason for the holiday, have the wrong notion of freedom. Most people think that freedom means “doing whatever I like to do.”
True freedom is having the ability to “choose what I want to do.” However, to make a choice a person has to be able to clearly see at least two viable options. If there was only one option then there is no freedom because you are forced to choose that one option. We face this problem in our medical systems—most of our doctors can only see one option for treatment or therapy. In our spiritual lives we have a similar problem — our lusts and desires leave us without any other options. We are programmed to think that there is only one way to respond to temptations and trials. The natural man is not free but is in bondage to self and its desires and passions.
Consider the example of Joseph who was a slave — he certainly did not behave like one. When Potiphar’s wife was making seductive moves toward him, Joseph exercised his freedom by choosing to say “No”. Potiphar’s wife on the other hand was actually in bondage to her own lusts and desires.
Another example to observe is the case of the jailor in Acts 16. Before he was saved, he acted like one who had no freedom because he wanted to kill himself when he thought the prisoners had escaped. However, after he was baptized, he was able to freely choose to wash the stripes of the prisoners he had once beaten.
True freedom is when we can clearly see two distinct options — the way of righteousness and the way of iniquity. A true exercise of our freedom is when we can freely choose the path of righteosness.