A Picture of Freedom

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:31-36 ESV)

I love the image of freedom from seeing the flight of a falcon. My good friend, Danny Pickens, is a falconer. He has trained many birds of prey. Presently he flies a Peregrine Falcon. He has invited me on several occasions to go with him to watch his birds hunt. While I have not done so yet, I am told they dive on their prey at speeds of 200 mph from a height of nearly a mile. They are incredible birds. Thinking about witnessing such takes me to the issue I raised yesterday. Our spiritual freedom can only be accomplished by Jesus. However, what is this freedom really?

Let’s take skydiving, for example. What you want is to experience the fullest possible exhilaration of freedom in skydiving. Let’s suppose then that you are on your way to the airport to go up for your first real jump, but your car hits a pothole on the highway. You have a blowout, and run into a telephone pole. You are no longer free to jump, whether you have the ability or not, because the opportunity passes while you wait for the tow truck. You lack the freedom of opportunity. Or suppose you do make it to the airport, but it turns out that you skipped all the classes and don’t know the first thing about skydiving. You lack the most basic abilities. The opportunity is there, but you don’t have the freedom of ability. They’re not going to let you jump. But suppose that you make it to the airport, you went to all the classes, and have all the abilities needed. You take off in the little plane, but as soon they open the door and you look down, all your desire vanishes and in its place comes a paralyzing fear. The opportunity is there, the ability is there, but you don’t have the freedom of desire.

But there is one last requirement for full freedom. Suppose you get to the airport with no obstacle (you have the freedom of opportunity); you have all the know-how necessary (you have the freedom of ability); you look out the door at the tiny clusters of silos and barns and farmhouses a few miles down, and just can’t wait to jump (you have the freedom of desire). So you jump. And as you free fall, enjoying every second of it, unknown to you, your parachute is defective and is not going to open no matter what you do. Are you free, fully free, free indeed? Of course not! In order to be fully free — free indeed — the Son of God must set you free. Trust in Him… then you will be free!