Written by R.A. Goodnight

 “So Christ has truly set us free.  Now make sure that you stay free…” Galations 5:1 (NLT) 

At this time of year, Americans celebrate the secular freedoms that were won at a great price, as well as the birth of The United States of America.  Since 1776 until now, we give honor to all who gave, as well as for what they have achieved.  

It is of no doubt that our secular freedoms are of great importance.  But our spiritual freedom should not be overlooked, as it far surpasses the freedoms we have at home.  I would summarize the overall theme of The Bible as ‘The King and His Kingdom’.  From Genesis to Revelation, God reveals to us who The King will be, how The Kingdom will be established and what it will accomplish for us.  And in two words, what it will achieve is ultimate freedom–freedom from sin and death, freedom from slavery to supernatural forces from which only one man had the power to save us.  And, the same as our secular freedom, our spiritual freedom came with great sacrifice; it came at the cost of another’s blood.

Understanding what it took to redeem us, we should use our lives to show that we value the price that was paid.  How can we do this?  One way is found in our opening verse.  There It states, “Now make sure that you stay free.”  What did Paul mean when he wrote those words?

HOW TO STAY FREE

In Romans chapter six, Paul helps us see the relationship between God’s grace through Christ sacrifice, sin and spiritual freedom.  In verse 14 he tells us, “Sin is no longer your master…Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.” (Romans 6:14 NLT) How great our God is for providing us a release from the power of sin in our lives.  But there is a catch.  Even though freedom has been provided for us, it is up to us to avail ourselves of it.  Paul goes on to say, “Well then, since God’s grace has set us free…does that mean that we can go on sinning?  Of course not!  Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey?  You can be a slave to sin…or you can choose to obey God.” (Romans 6:15, 16 NLT) God wants us to be free; He took the first step by providing the path to freedom.  But it is up to each of us to become and remain free by choosing to accept Christ and obey God and not our sinful tendencies.

It is interesting that Paul uses the words “make sure” that we stay free in Galatians 5:1.  We don’t just trip into freedom.  As Paul helps us see in the spiritual sense, freedom is a choice.  It requires action from us to ensure our freedom remains intact.  When we make active decisions in our life that protect us from temptation, we are “making sure” that we stay in the freedom God has given us.  Freedom is not passive; it requires us to be deliberate in our life choices.

THE FREEDOM KILLER

In a world controlled by Satan, there are many sin’s that can compromise our freedom and enslave us as men.  Today, one of the biggest freedom killers among men is addiction to pornography.  Notice some of the recent statistics regarding pornography use among Christian men:

(Barna Group – https://www.barna.com/research/porn-in-the-digital-age-new-research-reveals-10-trends/)

• 57% of pastors say they have struggled

(Barna Group – https://www.barna.com/the-porn-phenomenon/)

• 64% of youth pastors say 

they have struggled

(Barna Group – https://www.barna.com/the-porn-phenomenon/)

• 45% of Christians admit pornography is a problem in their home

(Focus On The Family – https://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/divorce-and-infidelity/pornography-and-virtual-infidelity/virtual-infidelity-and-marriage)

• 16% of those Christians say they are trying to quit but have been unable

(Barna Group – https://www.barna.com/research/porn-in-the-digital-age-new-research-reveals-10-trends/)

How can we consider ourselves free if we are unable to break free from something that entangles us?  What steps can we take to become free or to remain free?

WAYS TO MAKE SURE

One of the first steps to help gain control of any addiction is to identify your trigger.  If you have ever been able to speak with someone battling an addiction, most will tell you of some external trigger that causes them to struggle with their addiction.  Some examples of such triggers could be:

• Stress

• Depression

• Guilt

• Marital problems

• Even boredom

Once you have identified your trigger(s), you can begin addressing the underlying issues driving you toward your addiction.  For example, if boredom is your trigger (common to younger Christian men) then find something wholesome to do with your time.  Volunteer in your church, take up a hobby or even fill your down time with prayer or Bible study.  Fill the voids and remove the boredom.  The same tactic would apply with other triggers.  Find a wholesome ‘de-stresser’, talk with someone about the depression or focus on your marriage with your spouse as opposed to fueling the problems with an addiction.  The addiction is a symptom; address the underlying reasons behind the symptom. 

An accountability partner can be of immense value as well.  A fellow Christian man, someone whom you can talk to and be honest with, can be a powerful ally when temptations are high.  When feelings of stress or guilt occur, talking to another man in Christ can help you get through those moments when we may feel weak.  Technology can also serve as an accountability partner.  Software such as Covenant Eyes helps provide support while we take control of the addiction.

Do not underestimate the power of prayer.  Philippians 4:6 (NLT) advises us, “In every situation, by prayer and petition…present your requests to God.”  Take your struggles to Him and identify them by name in our prayers.  Remember, we can accomplish all things through Christ. (Philippians 4:13)

THE IMPORTANCE OF REMAINING FREE

Losing our freedom will eventually lead to spiritual inactivity or even death.  Along the way, it will limit our effectiveness at helping anybody else attain freedom in Christ.  How can we lead others to freedom if we ourselves are a slave to sin?

Accordingly, for those of us in leadership positions, it is important for ourselves and for those we lead that we remain free.  As husbands and fathers, how can we help our children or our families through trials and assaults on their freedom if we are choosing to be a slave to sin?

Stay aware; pay attention to our choices and make sure that you stay free.  Honor the sacrifice that was given for us, and do not lose sight of others we can help if we ourselves are free.  Never forget, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)


I would consider it a privilege to hear from any of the readers. Reach out to me, share your stories. man2man@omegaleague.com 

@omegaleagueman