Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
The crowd said, “We have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”
Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”
In John 8:31 – 38 Jesus defines bondage as being a slave to sin. But He also identifies two factors that lead to genuine freedom: knowing the Truth and knowing the Son.
Truth is liberating because it strips away the layers of deception we tend to surround ourselves with. One of the first steps to freedom is recognizing when we are in bondage. We can’t do that if we avoid the truth about ourselves. But recognizing the truth about ourselves is often very depressing, so finding freedom has to reach beyond that.
We cannot find freedom by philosophical or psychological means. Both of these may aid us in realizing the truth about ourselves, but in order to find freedom we need to reach beyond the powers of our mind. Unfortunately, today’s secular society often tries to find freedom by reaching within us. But true freedom must include reaching outside.
Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous tap into this by setting up accountability groups and partners who are responsible to help each other to overcome the inner compulsions to return to bondage. I believe that Jesus touched on a similar thought when He told the Pharisees that in order to find true freedom, they need to reach out to Him for help.
Jesus told the crowds, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Does wearing a yoke seem like freedom to you? A lot of people living in bondage only see the yoke when they think of following Jesus. Yet the yoke relieves you of a lot. It keeps you close to Jesus and allows Him to set the pace and the direction of your walk. It will keep you from stepping into the saloon or the house of prostitution, because Jesus won’t go there. It is really the ultimate in accountability.
Jesus never forces anyone to take up the yoke of freedom. And you can take if off if you want. But people who put on the yoke find a freedom they only dreamed of before. It doesn’t mean that they can no longer think for themselves or make their own choices. It doesn’t even mean that they will never be tempted again. But something changes when you accept the invitation to yoke yourself to Christ.
Jesus said that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. That is a paradox. Most people reject His yoke because they feel it would be to hard to wear and too heavy to carry. But those who accept the invitation find the very opposite. The shackles that bind us to the bondage of sin are hard to wear, and heavy to drag along.
Satan thrives on deception. He will move heaven and earth to make sure that we do not find freedom. He is doomed and he is determined to take as many people down with him as he can. But God thrives on truth. And he wants to deliver as many people from bondage as possible.
It comes down to a choice. We can choose deception and its bondage. Or we can choose truth and Christ, and find freedom.
“If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”
(C) 2019, Lester’s Bookshelf
Used by permission