The Freedom that Enslaves

I was greatly inspired by my recent Good Friday service on the sixth of March 2012 sermon delivered yesterday at my local church. My pastor, Daniel Prajogo, shared a strong and powerful message that shed a light into my untapped part of life. Hence, this post is stemmed from his sermon, which I decide to ponder and pour out the byproducts of my personal reflections into here, in order to deepen up my understanding and digging out more nuggets out of the gold mine.

Once you say you are free to do anything that you want, it is not a freedom at all. At first, this statement might be daunting to even start pondering about it. We, at least I, have always long for limitless freedom, which I have all the discretions and latest says to do whatever I want in my life. Okay, it might not be the decisions that affect the whole universe, but at least in the circumstances that affect my universe. I am a big fan of Real Madrid Football Club that makes me anticipating the chance to fly to Madrid and spend a week or two there. The most obvious and true obstacle is getting a permission from my parents to go. In my family, and I believe in majority of Asian families, asking permission from parents is paramount before taking any major decision that is going to impact my life, even though there is no relation to the parent themselves at all. Therefore, it was so suppressing that I cannot go there if my parents say no, despite the fact that I want to deploy my own financial resources to go there. Hence, I have always longed for freedom, the liberating one that enables me to decide the 5Ws and 1H (What, Who, When, Where, Why and How). So the first sentence in this paragraph is really, really contrasting what I have always been anticipating for. Why? Let’s take a closer look.
Once you sin, you are entered into slavery of sin, corresponding to John 8:35. Jesus said that there is no testing the waters principle applied to sins. Once we touch it, we would never be able to stop and resist it by our own might. Remember how many times we do not wash our dish once we finish our meals, in spite of the underlying rules written on your dining room about what you supposed to do? (You can stretch this example to a greater extent) Why do we execute things, that we know the exact opposite of the things, about the stuffs that we are actually supposed to do?  It is the resultant of the sins. Sin paralyzes, captives, enslaves, our emotion and will that destroys our freedom. Even though Moses has done well in liberating the children of Israel from social slavery in Egypt, their spirituals are still enslaved in the land of pyramids. Israelites have escaped from Egypt, but the Egypt was never away from Israelites’ heart, as reported in Numbers 11:5. Even that they had been told that they were on a journey to the promised land of milk and honey, their mind were held captive on the false comfort of Egyptian bondage.

The deception of sins, encapsulating slavery and bondage as an offer of freedom. The snake tried to convey a message, that God is cruel and rob Adam & Eve’s life, enjoyment and freedom. Thus, many see church as a place that is rigid, joy-robbing place instead of a liberating oasis. How do sins enslave people? Timothy Keller once said, “Not every addiction is sin; but all sins are addiction”. By and large, sins are constituted by a set of actions that are addictive, that oppress us to repeat it as the time goes by without being able to say no and break the cycle. It is triggered and intensified by the destructive emotions stemmed in our deepest heart such as broken heart, emptiness, boredom, and disappointment. Not all kid knows what are the things that will harm them, but every kid knows what is fun and entertaining. We seek satisfactions from so called entertainment, even the extreme ones, to fill us up,

How addiction works?
1. Good sensation: illusion, a sense of escaping the reality.
2. The “Feel Good sensation” vanishes soon, leaving you with all the bitterness, pain, and the piercing reality.
3. Then, you want to have the ‘panacea’ again.
4. The snowball effect: start small, rolling, need more and heavier doses, becoming big, heavy which stuck on the bottom of the valley.

Addiction is like fire that yearns for more fuel to burn. The more straws you put unto the fire will only give the fire real deal to burn. It never enough, it is never got satisfied.

How addiction destroys our life?
• Suppression
The knowledge about good things, or the other things are pressed, to make the room for the things you are addicted into, getting bigger and stronger.

• Rationalization
Being not able to think in wisdom, but using logic as an excuse to say that we need entertainment as the pain-killer, rationalizing the stuffs of addiction as the solution for life.

• Disillusion
Frustration of being driven to do things that we know we should not do.

Addiction is a thing that we are craving for and pursuing to achieve satisfaction. It is even could be the respectable ones such as money, fame, social status, and the objects that most label it as highly desirable. Digressing a little bit, before you ask or in case you have been wondering, what is the difference between addiction and passion? Isn’t it important to distinguish between those two, to avoid any misconceptions and materials for excuse?  In my view, one of them do improve the human being while the another absorb the soul into further despair. Both of them have the similarities, where over time, they will only get bigger and bigger, resulting in either massive sorrow or joy. Addiction oppress and leaves you with no choice, no power to make decision that rejects the behaviour. In contrast, passion empowers you with the drive to do what you need and love to do even when you are faced with the difficult situations to forfeit the activity. Let’s compare money addiction and passion for business shall we? For the first scenario, a certain businessman will work 200 hours per week for the sake of gaining more money, neglecting his family, even though he has already been a billionaire. Whereas, passion drives an entrepreneur to troubleshoot and improve his business, even though his business has suffered massive setback by unfriendly economic climate and troublesome staffs. Could you see the difference?

Then, there are two tragedies that occur in human life:
1. When someone does not get what he has been desperately wants. This leads to depression.
2. When someone does get what he has been desperately wants. This leads to panting for more.

Then, what is actually needed by human soul? Is God enough, seriously? God is more than enough as the primary source of nourishment and enjoyment in human life. This underlying principle is destroyed and manipulated, all by the nature of sin. Sin is rejecting, disregard God as more than enough to fulfil our being. Ironically, many Christians believe in God, but have no desire for Him. Instead, lusting after His blessings those are not the God Himself.

In addition, Instructions never works as they do not have the power to break up free, Romans 7:18-19. What we need is a saviour, who is certainly does not come in form of advices or instructions. Jesus who delivers us from the slavery of sins by His slavery to righteousness up until to the point of His death at the cross, Romans 6:6. Jesus’ gift of salvation is not only for forgiveness, but also for the deliverance from the bondage of sins. He sets us free from both the slavery and consequences of sins. Why we need to behold the cross of Christ? We can see the goodness nature of God when we survey the cruelty of the Cross. Hellen Keller once said, the goodness things in this life are not physical, but only can be senses by our heart. What actually pleases us is not the mountain range as the physical objects of nature, but it is our heart that appreciates the gorgeousness of the nature.

God is the real honey to our bitterness, that heals our wounds, the true elixir of life. When the oppresses man had been healed by Jesus, he came out from his rationalisation of irrational thoughts, and requested to follow Jesus, yielding his freedom to the good Master, entrusted his life to Jesus Christ the good shepherd. Amen.