Safety vs. Freedom


What does it mean to be free in Christ?

I find meetings boring. Especially when they are about budgets, five-year plans, staff hires and blah blah blah. It’s hard for me to pay attention. But Phillip, the guy leading the meeting, caught my attention when he said, “Jesus wants us to be free.”

I like freedom. I am all for being free. That word, freedom, is in my personal mission statement. If I had to summarize why I do and what I do, it would be “Freedom.” (Yup, think Braveheart, you should be hearing Mel Gibson scream “FREEDOM.”)

I do what I do because I want women to experience freedom in Christ.

I wish Phillip stopped there. He went on, “We want to be safe. Jesus wants us to be free.”

Well, I know that’s true. I’ve seen it and lived it. We choose safety above all else. Safe house, safety for our kids, safe finances, safe church, safe relationships... we love safety. It gives us the illusion that we are in control, that we can avoid pain and suffering.

But Phillip seemed to be implying safety and freedom don’t go together.

He finalized his statement, “We want to be safe. Jesus wants us to be free; free to say yes to Him no matter what.”

I had to sit with that one for a while.

What does it mean to be free in Christ? What does freedom have to do with saying “yes” to Jesus. Doesn’t that make me more like a slave? A slave to Christ? Slave doesn’t sound free. It surely doesn’t sound safe. It sounds like I don’t have control and that might mean pain and suffering.

And Christ weeps as Christians respond, “I think I will stick with safe. It sounds safer than freedom.”

“Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” (John 12:20-26 NIV)

Lord, I want to be free, to live free. As scary as it is to say it, “I choose freedom over safety. I say yes to you. Lord, make me a dangerous woman!

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