Recently, I asked a kindergarten boy, “What did the signers of the Declaration of Independence declare freedom from?” He looked at me with some uncertainty and said, “Your parents.”
When I asked another boy what happened in 1776, he answered confidently, “Christopher Columbus discovered America.”
Speaking of spiritual freedom, another child said, “You get to go outside and play and say, ‘Yea!'”
I like this definition of spiritual freedom because it makes me recall the sheer joy of going outside to play. In my childhood imagination, a whole world was “outside” waiting to be explored. No one had to teach me how to play or explore. Every child knows this instinctively. It’s part of God placing eternity in our hearts.
God wants us to experience the play and exuberance of spiritual freedom. He wants us to come outside, as it were, into the wide spaces of his kingdom, where we can learn the dance of his fellowship.
God is waiting for us to respond to his love so that he can fulfill our hearts’ desire for true intimacy. So many people live in a self-imposed slavery because they’ve been betrayed by selfish lovers. God wants to heal our wounds and bring us to a place of living free in a loving relationship with him.
Some would like to portray spiritual freedom as only a call to give up something, but it’s more of a call to gain something greater. Writer C.S. Lewis once compared our spiritual blindness to a small child’s fixation with his sandbox. When his parents remove him from the sandbox for a vacation at the beach, he may kick, scream and cry. But all this ceases at the first sight of beach, sand dunes and vast ocean horizons. Suddenly, the sandbox isn’t so appealing.
The problem isn’t that we’re seeking too much pleasure but that we’re settling for too little. We’re so infatuated with our little mud pies in the sandbox that we can’t see the vast oceans and continents God would have us explore.
How God ever got tagged as being against pleasure, I’ll never know. For King David wrote, “You will show me the path of life; In your presence is fullness of joy; At your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
Have you ever noticed the faces of those who try to find life apart from God? The strain of life in the sandbox shows. In our hearts, we know there must be something more, but few have the courage to question prejudices they inherit from culture, friends, family, false religion and tyrants. Of course, our own bad decisions play a role in keeping us confined as well because we tend to justify ourselves rather than admit our guilt.
True freedom requires revolution. Our forefathers declared freedom from English tyranny by signing the Declaration of Independence. Many people have died so we can live free in America.
We declare freedom from the sandbox (lies that promise life but never deliver) when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as our savior. Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sin and rose again to break the bonds of death. He wants us to experience the vast oceans of life that flow from him as the source of eternal and abundant life.
Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Jesus wants to be your liberator and source of life. Will you declare your dependence upon him today.