DAY 1: FREEDOM TO CHOOSE
To understand freedom, it is helpful to compare it to the opposite. Slavery is often mentioned in Scripture, whether from the perspective of the slave or his/her owner. In Genesis 16, the story of Hagar gives us great insight into the life of slavery in ancient times as well as today.
At the first mention of Hagar in Genesis 16, we immediately find one of the most common characteristics of slavery. Though Abram and Sarai’s plan for having children would have a massive impact on Hagar’s life, she had no say in the matter (v. 2-3). Hagar had no choice but to allow her masters to use her body for their own gain. She had no freedom to choose.
That is slavery in a nutshell. Being owned by someone or something robs us of the ability to choose. Note that being a slave does not take away our desire to choose, but it renders us incapable. In Paul’s words, “...the trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate” (Romans 7:14-14, NLT).
If Paul is right and we are bound to continue struggling with sin, how does freedom in Christ fit into the picture? The answer lies in the power that the slave’s owner has over them. In Hagar’s case, Abram and Sarai had the power to kill Hagar if she refused to obey. And in the same way, sin has the power of death over us without Christ. “We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin… We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him” (Romans 6:5,9 NLT).
So even though sin continues to exist in our lives, it has no power over us. Its place is way down in the hierarchy of our lives. Sin is no longer something that can kill us, but something we master by choice. Choosing Christ frees us from being slaves to sin. “Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace” (Romans 6:14, NLT).
In which area of your life do you feel like you do not have the freedom to choose? Do you think that enslavement to sin may be at the root of your captivity?
Let us break free from the power of sin over our lives by choosing Christ. And let us use our freedom in Him to choose wisely. “But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life” (Romans 6:22, NLT).
1 Corinthians 7:22