At the time this article was first written, we had recently celebrated the Fourth of July holiday or Independence Day holiday here in the US. There is a lot of discussion and appreciation for the freedoms we enjoy. Those of us that live in the United States are blessed with many freedoms. We honor those that have fought, and, for some, have made the sacrifice of their natural lives, so we can have these freedoms. But what does the Bible say about freedom and how can you have that freedom and victory in your life?
My hope and prayer is that, as you read through this post, you can see how we have the greatest freedom that can ever be afforded no matter where you live or your current situation. So read on to read about the Biblical view of freedom; true freedom!
Freedom in the Bible is Freedom “FROM”
Where I live, we have the freedom to vote, freedom to practice our religion, and freedom to live our lives as we choose (within reason and without causing harm towards others). In the United States, my home, and many other countries around the world, it is a freedom TO. While this is something we should be thankful for, freedom to is not the greatest of all freedoms.
As followers of Christ Jesus (or Yeshua in the Hebrew) through God’s grace, we are given freedom from. Amongst these are freedom from fear, freedom from anxiety, and freedom from death.
Freedom From Fear
As my grandmother was coming to the end of her natural life, she turned to me and said “be not afraid.” The song was one of her favorite Irish Catholic hymns and, in the chorus, it says “Be not afraid. I go before you always. Come, follow me, and I will give you rest”.
The song gave her comfort in times of loss throughout her life and it gave my family comfort at her funeral.
“Do not fear” is mentioned 365 times in various Bible verses.
Think about that! You could study one every day! Imagine the difference that would make in your life as fear melts away!
As we trust in him, he will lead us to places of safety where the fear of death, the power of death, cannot overcome us. This is the freedom of the Gospel. He knows how to direct us away from the bondage of sin and the places that cause us to stumble.
God loves us and will be there for us in times of trouble and turmoil. We have a choice. We can trust in our own ability and fear the outcome, or stand firm and trust in God and be rescued from that yoke of slavery to sin.
Spiritual Freedom in the Bible Comes With Trusting Him
There was a time not too long ago when I was going through a a change of leadership at my place of employment and at any time I could have been unemployed as sometimes, new leaders like to choose their own teams.
I began looking for work before in the event that might happen. God just put it on my heart that this is what I needed to do.
Each day I prayed and trusted that I would be placed in the right place for my family. For months I was always one of the finalists but would end up being the runner up for these jobs and I must admit, I was frustrated. I didn’t fear but I WAS getting frustrated because I didn’t understand why this was happening.
But finally, our prayers were answered and, in retrospect, I ended up in a place that was better than anything I could have ever imagined.
God took care of us because I did not fear and I put my trust in Him.
The timeline for answering that prayer was His timeline and not mine. If you are waiting to be placed in a better situation, be patient, do not fear, and place your trust in him and at the time that is right you will be rescued. Trusting Him over the desires of the flesh (to react and have a hissy fit over it) is the only way!
1 John 4:18 states:
God is perfect love.
We do have a sinful nature but we can live as free people in the Lord without fear because the penalty of sin has already been paid by our Lord Jesus Christ. God’s grace has set us free. So do not be afraid.
We have this new freedom from fear when we wholly trust in God and live in his love.
As Josh Baldwin from Bethel Music sings “’Cause my fear doesn’t stand a chance when I stand in Your love.”
On the topic of freedom from fear, I do want to address the fear of God. After all, the Bible DOES reference the fear of the Lord and this IS an important topic.
Should I be afraid of Him? Well, it depends on your definition of fear and your definition of freedom.
According to Miriam-Webster dictionary, the most common definition of fear means “an unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger”. However, if you continue to the third selection in their definition, it says that fear is profound reverence and awe especially toward God.
When you refer to fear and our heavenly Father, what you are really referencing is reverence and awe.
In Hebrews 12:28, it says:
We should fear God in awe not trembling, doing so through our worship and knowing the awesome power of our creator.
There is a statement inscribed in many a synagogue on the doors of the ark where the Torah scroll is housed. It says “Da lifnei mi atah omed” or “Know Before Whom You Stand”.
Know before whom you stand! Treat the Lord with the reverence due Him as the Creator and the Author and Finisher of our faith, but do not fear Him in the way we view the word “scared”. He loves you!
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 31.1% of U.S. adults experience an anxiety disorder at some time in their lives. An estimated 19.1% of U.S. adults had an anxiety disorder in the past year. If you do have anxiety, you are not alone.
In Philippians 4:6-7 we hear:
Because Jesus is with us, we can have freedom from anxiety in the face of painful and difficult situations. The more we commit ourselves through prayer and the study of his word, the better prepared we will be.
Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 6:34:
Jesus warned us that living for personal gain will only lead to great anxiety (or as Notorious B.I.G. wrote “Mo Money Mo Problems”). God promises to provide for our needs. Therefore, those who learn to trust God have no need to worry or carry those heavy burdens. These are Biblical principles we need to live by!Because Jesus is with us, we can have freedom from anxiety in the face of painful and difficult situations. The more we commit ourselves through prayer and the study of his word, the better prepared we will be. Click To Tweet
Worry over personal gain and trying to take care of our own provision and wrestling our way through life each day only puts us under a yoke of bondage that God freed us from.
One note of caution. I am not saying that general anxiety disorder is not a real thing or that you should not seek professional help. I am mostly speaking about the anxiety that comes with worry, not anxiety that comes from a medical or emotional condition.
Many that suffer from anxiety also benefit from professional counseling. I encourage you, in addition to committing ourselves to trusting in God, do not be afraid to seek out professional assistance. If you need guidance in that area, I recommend you visit with your Pastor or Rabbi or your physician to see if they have referrals to medical/mental health professionals who will understand and respect your faith.
Yes God does heal but sometimes He uses the medical community to do so, so please use wisdom and get help when it is needed.
Freedom From Death
According to statista.com, about half of the U.S. population is very or somewhat afraid of death. One of the benefits of being a follower of Yeshua and the promise of freedom in the Bible is the promise of eternal life.
We learn in Romans 6:22-23:
Jesus frees us from the spiritual death we deserve for our sins and the curse of the law. That is Biblical freedom! It frees us from the punishment that would be inflicted upon us at the end of our natural lives for the sins we inevitably commit as imperfect humans. Keep in mind, the curse of the law is NOT the whole law itself. That is not the curse. The curse is laid out IN the law for Israel should they disobey and rebel. I want to clear that up! The law itself is NOT a curse.
The Bible says the wages of SIN is death. That is what is meant by the curse of the law. It is a spiritual death due to rebellion and disobedience. But abundant life can be found in the gift of God which is Yeshua our Messiah which defeats the power of sin in our lives!
Later in Romans 8:1-2:
If we accept God’s offer of forgiveness and believe that Jesus died for our sins, there will be no condemnation. We also need to recognize that we need to look outside ourselves to God for the power we need.If we accept God’s offer of forgiveness and believe that Jesus died for our sins, there will be no condemnation. We also need to recognize that we need to look outside ourselves to God for the power we need. Click To Tweet
Freedom in the Bible – What Do You Do With Your Freedom “TO”?
What do you do with your freedom to?
If you are fortunate enough to live in the United States or other countries where you have a lot of freedom to, do you use it to live the life how YOU want to live it?
Do you use this freedom to chase wealth, other people, or something else that gives you a temporary feeling of pleasureor euphoria?
Or do you use your freedom to love your neighbor, worship our God with reverence and awe, and share the good news with others?
The former can lead to fear, anxiety, and spiritual death upon natural death. The latter affords you the ultimate freedom in the law of liberty. Freedom from fear, anxiety, and spiritual death, the opening of the prison doors that held us!
By trusting in the promises in God and, because of the sacrifice of His own Son Jesus, we are blessed in the Christian life to experience the most meaningful freedom of everlasting promise.
Be sure to get your FREE SOAP Bible Study Workbook below as my gift to you!
Dr. Dave Ferreira
Dr. Dave Ferreira is Diane’s wonderful husband! He is an Administrator in Higher Education and is the founder of a not for profit charity. Dave has also owned a traditional business and is well versed in business start-ups, grant writing, and non-profit formations. He is the author of the book Insider’s Guide to College Etiquette. Dave is also very active in his congregation.
Tree of Life (TLV) – Scripture taken from the Holy Scriptures, Tree of Life Version*. Copyright © 2014,2016 by the Tree of Life Bible Society. Used by permission of the Tree of Life Bible Society.