Like the fool who thinks he’s wise, what we call freedom often leads only to bondage. So what is true freedom?
Also, read about the fear of man. Proverbs tells us it is a trap into which we can easily fall. What is it and how can we be free from it’s grip?
Isaiah 51 & 52
Freedom or Bondage
Like the fool who thinks he’s wise in today’s Proverbs reading, we were once dead while thinking we were alive. We thought we were free when we were in bondage.
1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others (2.1-3).
We look back at Eve and think, “How could she have been so easily deceived?” But what about us, as modern women, we bought the farm when it comes to being deceived!
We decided …
We should be “free” to work just like men.
We should be “free” to have sex just for pleasure with no commitment.
We should be “free” to have a career and a family.
We should be “free” to be attracted to women instead of men.
We should be “free” to get a divorce if we’re not happy.
We should be “free” to not have kids.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying it is sinful for a woman to work or have a career, but I’m talking about the attitude that says we should be free to do whatever we think will make us happy.
We were not only “dead in trespasses and sins,” but blind and deaf and deceived and in bondage when we thought we were alive and educated and enlightened and free!
And for the gentlemen reading this, we women don’t have the market on deception.
Too many men have bought into the lie that they’re “free” to look at whatever they want on the internet.
That they don’t need to be involved in spiritual things. They can leave that to their wives.
That new toy or a new woman will make them happy.
That divorce is fine and the kids will get used it.
True freedom can only be found “in Christ” and as we discover that we can be free from the guilt and penalty of our sins. “If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (Jn. 8.36). True freedom is the freedom to do what’s right. The self-proclaimed freedom to do whatever we want only leads to bondage.
Praise be to God, that we were once dead, but now are alive. We were once blind, but now we see! We were once slaves to sin, but are now free to be what God has called us to be!
Today’s Other Readings:
What would they think?
12 “I, even I, am He who comforts you.
Who are you that you should be afraid
Of a man who will die,
And of the son of a man who will be made like grass?
13 And you forget the LORD your Maker,
Who stretched out the heavens
And laid the foundations of the earth;
Matthew 10 says:
28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
How much time we waste “fearing man”! It’s another kind of bondage into which we can easily fall. Not just fearing what they might do to us physically, but what they think of us, what they might say about us, or how they might sin against us.
“If they find out I’m a Christian, they’ll think I’m a ‘goody-two-shoes’.”
“If I don’t have sex with my boyfriend, he might leave me.”
“If I give in to my wife, what will I tell the guys?”
“If I submit to my husband, he’ll walk all over me.”
“What would they think if they knew about my past?”
“If I don’t lie for my husband, he might lose his job.”
Proverbs 29.25 says, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.”
Do we really want to trust in that which cannot save us? It’s really no different from those Old Testament people who trusted in idols they had carved from a tree trunk or formed with their own hands—gods who are not gods.
Our concerns need to be:
What does God have to say about this?
Will He be pleased?
Will this bring Him glory?
When those things are right, we can trust Him with everything else.
God Empowered Givers
Verse 5 begins, “A good man …” and goes on to talk about being generous.
Jesus said, “… No one is good except God alone” (Mk. 10.18). We cannot be “good” in and of ourselves. It is only because we are “in Him” that there is any goodness in us. But when we are “in Him” that will produce the fruit of a changed life. One example of a changed life is that we go from being takers to becoming givers. We become generous like our generous God.
Foolishness Looks Like Wisdom to a Fool
“The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.”
If laziness isn’t foolish enough, the more one indulges in it, the more deceived he or she becomes. So much so that his foolishness looks like wisdom to him!
What about you?
Have you ever found yourself in bondage to something you thought you were “free to do”? And what about the “fear of man,” how has it been a struggle for you? It seems to be something we all struggle with in one way or another. Even when we think we have conquered it, it often crops up some place we didn’t expect.
When People Are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man by Ed Welch
Welch has written a gem on the need for us to realize how great God really is and how we need to stop fearing other people so much! The focus of Welch’s book is to have a greater healthy fear of God to the point that other people have less power and control over our lives.
Pleasing People: How not to be an approval junkie by Lou Priolo
Are you a people pleaser? Are you addicted to approval from others? Would you do just about anything to get that approval? Biblical counselor Lou Priolo exposes all the prideful manifestations of this problem and, as always, offers solid, systematic biblical solutions! Even readers who think they don’t have this problem should read this helpful book, because what you don’t know can and will hurt you and others.
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