“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).
“Free as a bird.” This is often what we imagine true freedom feels like. Birds are light and agile and fly wherever they choose. They spend time with their friends and families, eating, drinking, singing, and procreating at will. Birds even migrate impossible distances, escaping southward as winter approaches.
Birds are beautiful creatures, doing exactly what God created them to do. But “free as a bird” is a lie. Have you ever watched a bird eat? Birds are never relaxed. They spend their lives constantly looking over their shoulders. They can fly, but what drives them into the air? Fear, hunger, predators, and an incredibly strong instinct to survive.
When people try to live this lifestyle, they soon feel heavy and weighed down, not light and agile. The context of this year’s theme verse, John 8:36, explains why. In John 8:34 Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”
When people live naturally, seeking and serving their own wills, they are oppressed and held captive by their own sin—sometimes without even realizing it. Their poor choices accumulate and trap them. This leads to self-medication with drugs, food, alcohol, work, or play as they seek to escape the heavy load, even for a little while. They are not the only ones who pay a price. The echoes of one generation’s feigned freedom reverberate on into the future and have a negative impact on generations to come.
True freedom is a paradox—it initially looks like a burden. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28).
Jesus offers us a yoke. Yokes aren’t liberating, but being yoked with Jesus means rest and the lightness of true freedom. This yoke connects us with Jesus, and Jesus makes us free indeed (see John 8:36).
This year you will hear stories of women who exchanged the bondage of fear, addiction, hopelessness, and emptiness for the yoke Jesus offered them. Our prayers for the true freedom of people facing this choice are essential. Jesus said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible” (Matthew 19:26, NLT). So, let’s give to achieve our goal of $250,000 and pray for all those who will hear of the easy yoke of Jesus through the efforts of our workers worldwide.
I love that “freedom is a paradox.” Great the article Barb!
I love birds! And I love Barb’s insight. Great article, Barb! Only Christ brings us freedom.
Thank you so much for that insight. May God bless and keep you.