Freedom is a positive word and generally something we would all like to experience. It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot being perceived differently depending on the context in which the word is used. As a child we probably saw freedom in getting our own way and not being told by our parents what and when to do things. In some cultures, as a teenager we might have been longing for that day when we would get to the age where we were considered an adult and able to do what we liked and not bound by parents rules any longer.  Does any of this sound familiar?

So what really is freedom? The dictionary says: “The state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement” or “the exemption from external control, interference, regulation etc.”  After considering this word ‘freedom’, how much of it do we really have in our world today? It wasn’t too long ago that I was a teenager and over the past few years I’ve worked with young people. As I’ve worked with and been a part of this generation I’ve observed a few things along the way that are really no secret to anyone.

We have a social media generation whose photos, tweets, status etc. are there in most cases to impress their viewers. We are all part of an age where the feeling of un-acceptance, not being or looking good enough is disturbingly a little too common. We constantly have someone to compare ourselves with and we never seem to measure up.  Recently one of my friends posted a photo on Instagram of herself and I made the comment “you’re so beautiful…”. Her reply was “…you made my day”. Is this the reality for our world today? Are we longing to be noticed and told we’re beautiful, good enough and to really believe this?

Do these examples mentioned give us freedom or bondage? “That’s the way it was with us before Christ came. We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world” (Galatians 4:3). Where do we hear the voice to tell us what this perfect, unachievable image is that we are striving for? Who decided what the perfect personality is, that we have to have a good job, a university degree and a lot of money to be popular. Who decided that we can’t be fun if we don’t get drunk and take drugs at parties, that we need to have a perfect past and what we’ve done is something that is tattooed on us forever and will never be forgotten.

These are only some of the many perceptions of who we need to be in this world, and they are forever increasing and changing without us ever seeming able to emulate them. Believe it or not, not even that famous personality we idolise and wish we were believes they’ve reached it. The world tells us who we need to be, who we need to look like, how we can get satisfaction in life and that the sins that enslave us must be ok because it’s so common everywhere we look. It has a list of false guidelines for us to be accepted and fulfilled in life. Does this sound like a life of freedom? Not at all! As the verse in Galatians says, we are slaves to the principals of the world before Christ comes into our lives.

Imagine living a life where Jesus has completely transformed the way you think. Imagine if those perceptions that consume you turned into the realisation that, this person is actually you. This transformed mind that Christ gives can change your thinking from a state of bondage into a belief that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) and that the person you are, is exactly who God made you to be. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17). This Spirit that gives us freedom lives in us and is waiting for us to allow him to transform our minds and make this reality.

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). As we are transformed, we become more like Christ and our minds begin to think the way he thinks and believe the truths rather than the lies. It sounds like a pretty cool place to be, but how do we get there? “If you continue in my word you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). God sacrificed his one and only son to give us hope and free us from this life of bondage full of lies, unreachable goals and false satisfaction, only through the transforming name of Jesus can we be truly free.

When he changes the way we live and we become more like him our feeling of guilt, depravity, error, worthlessness, loneliness, bondage etc. are wiped away and we experience the absolute fullness of life. These things of the past are replaced with the feeling of freedom, feeling good enough, loved and accepted for who you are and not feeling like you have to change the person you are. All those feelings we long to have can be ours today and forever more when the Spirit of the Lord makes a home within us. “I will always obey your law, for ever and ever. I will walk in freedom for I have sought out your precepts” (Psalm 119:44-45). Choose to walk in freedom today and watch the transforming power of Jesus work in you all the days of your life.

Ashlee Sheppard

Australia Eastern Territory