Freedom is a beautiful thing, itis defined as enjoying personal rights or liberty, as a person who is not in slavery.
As we reflect on the beauty of freedom, consider this gem from 1 Corinthians 6:12 (in three different Bible versions/translations):
Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims. (1 Cor. 6:12 MSG)
“Everything is permissible for me,” but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me,” but I will not be mastered by anything. (1 Cor. 6:12 CSB)
Everything is permissible (allowable and lawful) for me; but not all things are helpful (good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things). Everything is lawful for me, but I will not become the slave of anything or be brought under its power. (1 Cor. 6:12 AMPC)
So you’re free, what does that mean for you? For many of us, it means making choices how we see fit, without permission or explanation. For others, it means living life without boundaries, limitation, and/or restraint. We may all see a different picture when we hear the word freedom. The more important thing than freedom itself is to understand the reason for which we are free. This level of understanding stems from knowing your purpose and the assignments connected to it. This level of understanding requires maturity. Liberty should always be used in worthy and sensible ways. The greatest level of freedom is being able to walk in what belongs to you. You must know what belongs to you.
I love the story of king David – it’s so real, raw and robust. So many strong life lessons. In 1 Samuel 24, we find David in a precarious situation. David was in the middle of the pit and the palace – a thing called process. He had been on the run from king Saul, who was on an unrelenting man hunt to find and kill David. In this chapter, we see that David’s whereabouts had been exposed and he finds himself in the same cave as an unaware Saul. David had a choice to make: do the permissible thing (kill Saul), or the responsible thing (trust God to take care of him and handle Saul). We see David tempted to do the permissible thing. So much so that he cut a corner of Saul’s robe to prove to Saul that he had an advantage over him.
David could have done the permissible thing – the permissible thing that his friends urged him to do. David was a skilled man of war, who killed the Philistine giant (Goliath) that king Saul was afraid to kill. David could have taken out king Saul at any moment and he would have been justified in his actions. But David chose to do the responsible and purposeful thing. David understood that vengeance does not belong to him but to the Lord. He also understood what belonged to him. He had already been anointed to be the next king, he just had yet to take the throne! His time had not yet come to sit on the throne. While God had removed his spirit from Saul, he had not yet moved him off the throne. David knew that the throne belonged to him. He didn’t have to abuse his freedom by forcing what was not yet ready for him. He operated with responsibility. David understood his purpose, his promise to be king, and his current assignments. He was uncompromised by the distractions of freedom. Instead, he was led with responsibility that stemmed from his promise and purpose. Responsibility understands boundaries. Responsibility understands what is yours to do and what is Gods to do. True responsibility is walking in step with God. David did his work and let God do His – freedom and responsibility working in tandem to bring to pass the promises of God.
As we hang in the balance of freedom and responsibility, here are some things to consider:
What is your purpose?
What part of your process are you in?
Where have you shifted your focus to what you can do, from what you should be doing?
Where have you begun to take things into your own hands instead of trusting the God who gifted you with freedom, to do what is His to do?
When a prisoner is released, society’s hope and expectation is that they use their freedom to be a responsible citizen who contributes to the productivity of said society. God expects the same. He sacrificed his son to free us. The honorable response to freedom is responsibility. I encourage you today to hold yourself accountable to use your freedom in a way that does not re-enslave you, but on the contrary, partners with God to push his glorious promises into the earth!
Bold, wise and insightful, Alecia Swoope is a writer and speaker who’s passionate about teaching and supporting people to be their best self. She loves all things relational and comfy - when she’s not busy, you can find her chatting and laughing with loved ones, snuggled under a warm blanket or vibing out to feel good music. Stay connected with her on IG @msans7 and Facebook by name.