Updated: Apr 1, 2021
I once was lost but now I'm found... I once was blind but now I see... I was a prisoner but now I'm not..." we sing lyrics like this every single week at church. To be honest, on more than one occasion, I've sung these lyrics and thought to myself, "...but am I really free?" Because I don't always feel like I am. As believers of Christ, we are singing these truths in the tension of already and not yet. We know that we are free, but at the same, we are not yet free. Let me paint a picture for you to help illustrate what I mean.
You are locked up, bound to a prison cell. There is no escaping. This has become home. It's not ideal, but it's familiar. But then, someone—a hero— comes and breaks down the door to your cell. He says, "You are free to go; your debt has been paid." This is amazing! You are a free person. You start singing and shouting for joy. The implications of being free are overwhelming. You are filled with joy. But days later, the joy wears off when you realize that you are still sleeping on the same uncomfortable bed, eating the same terrible prison food, and still stuck between the same four prison walls—because you never. left. the. cell.
Jesus freed us from the slavery of sin and death, and then invited us to follow him into freedom. The problem is, we are afraid to leave the comfort of our cells. We have confused freedom for familiarity. We have confused the proclamation of our freedom for a life of true freedom. Freedom is living within the parameters of God's design for us. It is living in the light of Christ's perfect image. Freedom is living a life that bears the fruit of the spirit—a life of love, joy, peace, temperance, patience, long-suffering, faithfulness, gentleness.
The reason we don't feel free is that, even though Jesus opened the prison cell by the power of the cross, we still live our lives in the prison cell of self-centeredness. Jesus has paid the price for us to walk in this freedom, and he has called us to follow him into it. So what are we waiting for? If you want to feel like a free person, take a step towards the light. When someone does wrong to you, you are no longer a prisoner to anger. You are free to be kind. When someone cuts you off, you are no longer a prisoner to retaliation. You are free to forgive. When someone is unkind to you, you are no longer a prisoner to be unkind in return. Step out of your prison cell into a life of love. Behold the God of love and follow in his steps.
This book "You Are What You Worship" is a call to step into the freedom you have been given.