Jeremiah 40:4: Now, behold, I release you today from the chains on your hands. If it seems good to you to come with me to Babylon, come, and I will look after you well, but if it seems wrong to you to come with me to Babylon, do not come. See, the whole land is before you; go wherever you think it good and right to go.
The love of God frees us to be all we can be. It is empowering because he believes in us, he tells us to go on, as he backs us with all he has.
He breaks a chain from us, the chain of sin, and we are free to serve him without any limitation. We can serve God with reverence and godly fear (Hebrews 12:28).
Jesus was clear about what true freedom really is. When certain Jews thought that because they were from Abraham, they thought they were free, Jesus told them if you a sinner you are in bondage (John 8:30-38). Period. If you constantly act against the direction of your conscience, you are in bondage, and Jesus brings us freedom.
To show the clear picture of what bondage to sin means, let us see the story of Peter and how he denied Jesus, just a few hours after he had vowed he will die for him (Matthew 26:31-35, Luke 22:33).
Was he lying when he made that promise, was he being hypocritical? He was not. But he overestimated his ability to be altruistic, to do the right thing, to be right. Paul, knowing that we are prone to overestimating ourselves, said, we should not think more highly of ourselves than we ought, but should think soberly (Romans 12:3).
Man left that ability behind in the Garden of Eden and that is the Holy Spirit (Genesis 2:7). He is the one who can stir us in the right direction, the heavenly ability in us.
Paul wrote that the Holy Spirit is the fight against the wrong impulse within us. Paul said that the flesh desires is against the Spirit and the Spirit’s desire is against the flesh so that we do not do what we want to do (Galatians 5:17).
The Spirit empowers us to not be tied to the aprons of the flesh. Jesus says the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:36-50), it cannot help against the onslaught of demonic influence seeking to rule man with evil thoughts.
And Jesus recommended prayer as a means of freedom from the weakness of the flesh so that we would not fall into temptation and do the wrong thing, pulled away from the will of God.
Jesus, when he said that we need to pray to not fall under temptation, was involved in a long period of prayer in the Garden of Eden as his flesh wanted to shirk away from the will of God which was about him going to the cross.
As the time to die drew near, something he was had long been aware of, the human need for self-preservation kicked in, which is the default setting of the flesh, screaming to have its needs met, which is against the will of God. But the Holy Spirit helped Jesus as a result of his prayer and he was able to offer himself as sacrifice. The bible says that Jesus offered himself by the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 9:14). You cannot get people to make sacrifice by appealing to their flesh, which is programmed to self-preserve, self-focused and selfish. People make sacrifices only under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Whatever you can do, to get the people under greater influence of the Holy Spirit, do. That is better than trying to beat them on the head by stirring up the emotion of guilt or pity.
There are two sides of freedom, which are freedom from sin and freedom to move into the fullness of the will of God for us. Jesus told the disciples that apart from him we can do nothing (John 15:5), we cannot make real progress. We arrive at “fulfilment” through the path of freedom.
In Christ all our possibilities are unleashed, we cut the picture of ability and greatness, realising the full intent in the mind of God for creating us.
We are God’s product. We cannot use ourselves, and the greatest sense of fulfilment we get is from used by God. Moses was used by God and the bible says that he was faithful in all of God’s house (Hebrews 3-5).
Before he was called to serve, he was just your average herdsman. He herded his father-in-law’s sheep. Any ambition he had while he was younger was dead. As an old man and a family man, he probably was not particularly excited about life. He had excitement in Egypt, by that was decades before, but God told him at the age of eighty: go and deliver my people Israel and I will be with you (Exodus 3).
Gideon was another man who became freed to be all he can be by serving the purpose of God. When God called him, Israel was really in a poor place, they were a people oppressed (Judges 6-7).
Gideon was just trying to survive when God said to him: man of valour, go in this thy might and deliver Israel. He could not believe his ears. But when he stepped out ever so gingerly in the direction of the will of God, he got the victory for Israel.
But first God asked him to do away with the idol made by his father’s. He knew how attached the people were to that and was only able to destroy the image at night. But that was necessary so that there will be no confusion about the source of the victory, when God delivers Israel through Gideon. And Gideon’s name was etched in gold in Israel.
Both Moses and Gideon were servants of God who led the people from oppression into freedom. They did not do it from their own initiative but as they shared the love of God for the people they were able to deliver on their mandate.
In the freedom of these two people to walk in the mandate of God, was the freedom of multitudes of people. In the same way, when you walk in the full freedom of the will of God for you, it will lead to many other gaining freedom, conversely, your being in bondage, has the potential of putting many other people into bondage.
When Adam and Eve fell into sin and entered the bondage of sin and death, it led multitudes in the same direction (Romans 5:12-21). His bondage led to more and more bondage and the freedom of Jesus in alignment with the will of God resulted in many people becoming righteous, gaining freedom of relationship with God, marked by the experience of his Spirit within us, who propels us into more and more wisdom.
The Spirit is empowering. When Jesus was about to depart in the physical sense from the disciples he promised them the Holy Spirit. He said: you shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be my witnesses everywhere (Acts 1:8).