In democratic countries where human rights are protected, residents can be under the impression that they are free. They can, to an extent, do as they please. But true freedom is about more than simply having the power to do as one wishes. As Pope Francis told an audience of young people recently: "If you do not know how to say 'no', you are not free."
In our society there is a lot of pressure to subscribe to a particular notion of freedom – the kind that can so often be characterised by doing what you want without concerning yourself with how your actions affect others. In some ways this is compatible with our faith – it frees us from worry about the opinions of others – but we're also called to love our neighbours, and things like the freedom to offend don't always fit with our beliefs. Becoming a Christian is a choice, to do so in the first place is a remarkable demonstration of freedom, one that is reinforced each time we turn away from the false freedoms that the world offers and turn to Christ.
Because so many people associate freedom with the power to do whatever we want, Christianity is often viewed by the same people as an obstacle to freedom, not a gateway to it. But we, as believers, know that it really is the power to break the concepts of pleasure and happiness out from worldly confines. As followers of Christ, we know that we find true freedom through faith and our relationship with Christ – freedom the sin, fear, worry, fitting in.
Here are some powerful verses from God's Word to remind you of the wonderful freedom that can be enjoyed in Christ.
Galatians 5:1 - It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:13 - You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
2 Corinthians 3:17 - Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
John 8:34-36 - Jesus replied, "Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Ephesians 3:12 - In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Romans 8:1-2 - Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
Isaiah 61:1 - The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.