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What is freedom? Well, Dictionary.com gives one definition: 

Freedom, independence, liberty refer to an absence of undue-restrictions and an opportunity to exercise one’s rights and powers.

If you were to ask a group of people individually weather they are free you might get a couple of different answers. It will depend on their political stance, religious views, or even just their idea of what true freedom is. According to the definition above we in our country have a level of freedom. If you go back to the beginning of this great nation, and take into context what freedom was all about to them then yes, we are indeed free from the tyrannical non present king who was in control. There is one line in the Declaration of Independence that in my opinion we hold onto as the idea of what freedom is. The idea is that we should all be able to embark on the “pursuit of happiness.” I find it interesting that Thomas Jefferson chose to call it the “pursuit of happiness” and not something like “the receipt of happiness.” We are free to pursue happiness in whatever we see fit (within the constraints of the law), but I wonder if anyone ever really arrives. It would seem to me that the majority of us have found that our pursuit seems to be more like a scavenger hunt with no end in sight. 

I have known people with much, and I have known people with very little, and the one thing that they all have in common is that they are still on their pursuit of that idea of happiness. Some say they just have not arrived yet, when they get to the level of financial freedom they desire they will be happy then. Or when they retire, after they have saved up enough money to enjoy in their later years they will relax and be free to do whatever they please, that will make them happy. The truth is that happiness seems to be a constant pursuit and never an arrival. If this is true, if happiness, and by happiness I mean true happiness that is wavered by nothing and leads to satisfaction and an end to the pursuit, is not attainable by our efforts then is it in fact freedom? If you ask me, anything that we are consumed by and dictates our actions is actually in control of our lives therefore rendering us captive and in turn taking away what freedom we think we have. The pursuit of happiness is in itself a prison of the worst kind because it gives the illusion that we are free. Though we may be able to decide how we take on that pursuit, but the fact that we can’t help but pursue it is bondage of the worst kind. This bondage gives the illusion of freedom but actually has full control over our actions. The picture I get is that of a mouse on a wheel with a piece of cheese dangling in front of it. It keeps moving forward in pursuit of the prize but it always seems out of reach. It only stops when it can no longer move, when it has given all that it has got and gives up hope. That’s right, gives up hope.

The thing about that cheese is that it is actually obtainable. See the mouse can’t think outside of what it wants and only sees the way to receiving its desire is by taking the path that is laid out before it by the one getting him to walk on the wheel. The wheel is feeding some kind of power, so the person needing the power is using the temptation of the cheese and the mouses desire to keep it moving so that the “tempter” can get its power. If the mouse knew that, he wouldn’t give in knowing that it is a trick and he is sacrificing his freedom. There is another way, there is a way that the mouse can have its cheese and not sacrifice its freedom taking a stand all the while against the schemes. If the mouse would choose not to get on the wheel eventually someone would reach in and give the mouse the nourishment that he needs. 

I know that this example breaks down a little, but the point is that there is true freedom that leads to true happiness and not an endless pursuit. This way not only ends in receiving fulfillment but also offers true freedom. The Way is Christ. Jesus offers a life free from bondage and free to choose that which brings life. Imagine a life where physical circumstances do not dictate the level of happiness. This my friends is true freedom. Free from the bondage of circumstance and experience to determine happiness is what we all desire. All of my friends with little wish with all of their hearts that they didn’t have to work so hard to find happiness. They wish that they could just be happy or content in their current situation. The same goes for all of my friends who have much, they wish that they could be happy with where they are and not need anything else to maintain their level of fulfillment and contentment. This freedom not only exists but is offered to all who will receive it. Could you imagine an existence where being wrongfully accused, beaten, and imprisoned would not take away the joy in your heart but actually increase it? Could you imagine the freedom to enjoy the moment and not need any outside stimulus for happiness? This is present! The time is now! Jesus offers just that! 

The good news is that you have another option. Death is not the end, life is not drudgery, and the best life is not here in the temporal but exists eternally! The beauty is that it exists now and can be enjoyed fully. When you have been set free by the Son of the living God you are actually free; free INDEED! This is not an illusion, this is happiness outside of circumstance. It is freedom to choose that which your heart desires most, righteousness. You have been created to be in relationship with God and Jesus gives you the ability to find that fulfillment which you have spent so much time in pursuit of only to find nothing there when you arrived. In Jesus you arrive and the fullness of HIS glory is there and nothing outside can change that! 

Jesus has come to set us free from walking on a wheel. He has come to offer us life, real life, life abundantly. He offers a new existence, a new identity, a new purpose, and a new freedom; a real one. Jesus is the way, and the only way at that. He is the One who offers you true light. He will expose what is in the darkness, show you what bondage you are really in and the schemes of the enemy to make you feel that you are free when in fact you’re not. As one who is free, you will also have the authority and ability to set others free by showing them the true source of your freedom. So end your pursuit and finally arrive. 

Thank you Jesus for taking my curse and making me new. Thank you for you enduring love. Thank you for freedom to follow you and thank you for being my righteousness. I pray that others will see you, and accept the gift of freedom that you offer. Not an illusion, but a real tangible freedom. Thank you Lord, to you be honor and glory forever. Amen!