|The Unquenchable Thirst for Freedom|
|Blogs - Ron Hutchcraft's Blogs|
There it was again, displayed for all the world to see. Hundreds of thousands of people, willing to risk everything for one thing. Freedom. The past two weeks, we've watched a powerful real-life struggle for freedom played out in a place called Liberation ("Tahrir") Square in Egypt. Once again, the unquenchable passion to be free has changed a nation.
It's not the first time. It's what happened in 1989 in that Old World square in Romania where I walked a couple of years ago. On those cobblestones, 200,000 people dared to stand up to brutal oppression - and toppled a dictator in a matter of days. The freedom flame is what drove thousands of oppressed people to "tear down that wall" in Berlin. And that yearning for freedom is what inspired a ragtag gaggle of farmers to grab their muskets 200 years ago to fight the British Army, the mightiest army in the world. And America was born.
Few passions run deeper in the human heart than this desire to be free. There's something in the human soul that just knows that being in bondage is not how we were created to be. But it turns out that this yearning goes much deeper than we imagined. Much deeper than any political or social freedom can satisfy.
So Jesus came. As the ultimate Liberator. Not from a political system or a human despot. He came as the Liberator from the ultimate bondage. A personal bondage that no demonstration, no war can ever shatter.
He said of His mission, "If the Son shall make you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36 ). From the dark despot that keeps every human soul in bondage. Just before He talked about "free indeed," He said, "Anyone who commits sin is a slave of sin" (John 8:34 ).
On first thought, "sin" may not seem like that big a deal. Certainly not our "slavemaster." Especially if we think sin is just the breaking of some religion's rules. But it is so much more. And it is at the heart of our broken families, our broken relationships, our broken hearts, our broken world.
Sin is every selfish or dirty or dishonest thing we've ever done. Every word or reaction that has hurt someone, most often someone we love. It's that disease of "me" that, multiplied by six billion "me's" on this planet, exacts a horrific price. And for all our attempts at self-improvement, we just keep doing the things that we hate...that those who love us hate...that God hates. It is, in fact, the hijacking of our life from the very One who gave us our life.
In the words of one of the writers of the Bible, "I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out...no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing" (Romans 7:19 ). Who doesn't know that struggle? No matter how good we manage to look on the outside, we all have a dark side that just keeps winning. A dark side known all too well by the people closest to us. We are, as Jesus said, slaves to the sin that we can't stop doing.
The same Bible writer ended up with this impassioned cry to be free: "Who will rescue me?" A cry for rescue is an admission that I can't liberate myself. Then this man, desperate for change, comes to the answer: "Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 7:24 ).
As we've seen in the past couple of weeks, freedom often comes at the price of blood. Mine did. Not my blood, but the blood of God's only Son. There was no way to break the enslaving power of sin than to pay its unspeakable death penalty. That's what Jesus was doing when He died on that cross. As the Bible says, "He loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood" (Revelation 1:5 ).
The day I told Jesus, "I'm Yours," was the day this sin-slave went free. There is no feeling like the day you know you're finally free. For me, for millions. That was the day we welcomed the Liberator - Who paid the price so we would never have to.