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Freedom’s Dependence

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Authentic freedom is not to be taken lightly. At its core, freedom provides us the power to choose without undue internal or external restraint, persecution, oppression, or hindrance. I believe the grace of God brings freedom to its fullness.

But how and where do freedom and faith integrate? I’m sure if I asked around I would get numerous answers to this question. I believe freedom is embedded in our spiritual DNA. It’s fundamental to faith. God means to set us free from our inherent waywardness and the wiles of any spiritual oppressor. This release creates the opportunity for us to make many new and different choices.

Everything we do is permissible but not all things are beneficial or edify. The Apostle Paul explains that our grace-given freedom is not to be abused by gratifying the hedonistic appetites of the flesh. We’re free to be loved and to love others. Our freedom releases us to genuinely serve one another in love.

Our actions don’t happen in a vacuum. Freedom gives graceful expression when we live interdependently to the benefit and edification of ourselves and those who surround us. Authentic freedom exists somewhere between independence and dependence – interdependence. The prefix inter means between, among, together, mutually, or reciprocally. To experience freedom’s fullness we must live dependent upon God and in community with others.

Primarily, genuine freedom looses its balance in two directions, independence and codependence. One is the way of destructive pride and the other of needy self-loathing.

The whole mishap with Adam and Eve in the Genesis garden was about independence. Essentially the serpent asks, “Do you want more freedom?” The forbidden fruit was supposed to make them as free as God. To the contrary, it isolated them, bound them, and led to their downfall. The same goes for us. Total freedom isn’t total independence. If we go it alone we fall. When we shut everyone out, including God, we imprison ourselves.

Toward another extreme, freedom fades when we have an unhealthy dependence upon others. When we view ourselves as worthless, hopeless, and incompetent without others, we harbor misguided expectations of others. We become codependent. When addicted to others they define us and make choices for us. When they do, we often feel trapped, controlled, and victimized.

It’s for freedom that we’ve been set free. We’re meant to live freely with a healthy dependence upon God and with the support of a caring community. No person is an island and a life addicted to others is not a life at all. Grace leads us to a profound but interdependent freedom. Depend upon God, let yourself be loved, love others, and be free.

About the Author

Artie has been communicating God's grace in various contexts over the last fifteen years. His passion is similar to Bill and Anabel's in that he desires to communicate God's grace in a way that makes it easily applicable in everyday life.