Living with Freedom
(By Dr. Miftah S. MD)
Freedom is an important concept in the western culture. But what does it mean: freedom?
In the Oxford Dictionary Definition, freedom is defined as:
² the right or ability to do or say what you want
² the state of not being held prisoner or controlled by somebody else
² the state of not being affected by something unpleasant
² the right to use something without restriction
Nowadays, the unwritten definition or concept of freedom looks like this.
“ Freedom is doing whatever you want, in whichever the way, to the maximum extent you want to do; Becoming whoever or whatever you want, in whatever the way, to the maximum level you want to be; and Having whatever you want, in whatever the way, to the maximum amount you want to have.”
Does this attitude define the REAL concept of freedom? What is the idea of freedom for you? How do you define it? Let us listen to the story of the fish, to get more insight in the concept of freedom:
The story of the fish
Inside a lake, there are some fishes. They are destined to live there. They are made to swim. To breathe inside the water. They can do whatever they want inside the lake. Eating, dancing, sleeping, but inside! But let us say, once upon a time a young, genius and motivated fish loudly and boldly called his friends and said,“ Why are we always living here in this confined water. Look at the birds in the sky. Flying and going anywhere they want. Looking down everything. Look at the monkeys in the tree along the beach-side. They climb and jump from one branch to the other branch, from one tree to the other playing, rejoicing. Eating those beautiful fruits. How long must we stay in this confined lake? Why don’t we try living like them? Why don’t?…”
What would be the next step the other fishes would do?
Definitely, they would be thinking that this young, genius and motivated fish had lost his mind and become dumb. Then, they would call one another and hold the fish tightly and take him to the elder fishes for counseling and rebuke or to the psychiatry clinic for treatment.
Here in this story, the important point we can grasp is that a fish may wish to live outside the habitat for which it was designed to live. But it can’t. Never! But of course, it may jump up and stay above the lake for a moment but it will surely dive back. Because the lake is where life is found. Actually the lake is also the origin of the fish itself, the reason for its existence. The atmosphere where the fish can survive. For that matter, the fish will undoubtedly die not long after it went out of the lake anyway and roll over the ground and cease moving. But it starts to die as soon as it leaves the surface of the water. At the very point of departure from the surface of the water and entering into the external atmosphere. Rolling over the ground and flipping fins outside the water are not the signs of life rather the sign of the journey to death.
In conclusion of the story, the fish might declare freedom and independence from anything. It might decide to live without restriction, pressure or control but it can never start living outside the water. It might be possible to declare independence from anything except the water, the source of its existence.
Therefore, the concept of freedom or liberty should be defined in the context of water and fish reality.
The life different from the standard God has set for you, is not the will of God but the will of the devil. So, we might think that we are exercising our freedom while living according to the pleasure of the serpent. So, you can genuinely see that what we call freedom is actually bondage.
The greatest tragedy here is not even knowing that you are under this “freedom bondage” phenomenon. It is a big loss that what you are calling freedom turns out to be slavery.
Once you suddenly enter into a swamp and get stack and want to come out quickly. Then, you may use your maximum effort and wisdom to be free. The more you try and the more energy you spend and think that you are going to do it and become free, the deeper you get into it and the more you get stuck. You may even make your chance of coming out faster quite small.
Take a cockroach that doesn’t know that it is caught in a spider web while it was taking its journey. As it takes a single step to detach from the web hoping to get free, more webs hold its legs. As it increases to fight for freedom the more it gets harder. Starting from the legs, the web goes up rotating and tightening to the waist, then the shoulders, then the neck and head. Finally and sorrowfully, it even loses the chance to shout for help since its mouth is also tightened fast.
Conclusion: Therefore redefining the concept of freedom and acting accordingly is mandatory!
What does the bible say about freedom?
The idea of Freedom, independence, self-government or self-rule isn’t new. It actually started during the time of Adam and Eve. So, how your view about the concept of freedom is a great thing to deal with.
( study verses: Genesis 1-3, 2nd Corinthians 11:2-3, Math 4:1-14)
Apostle Paul was a stubborn person. Once he has given his life to Christ, there was no turning back. In spite of any tribulation and persecution, Be it stripes and imprisonments or death. He even said, “…I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.” 2nd Cor 7:4.
But he said once “ But I fear…” to Corinthian in chapter 11 verses 3 KJV,
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
The brave Paul now admits his fear. Why? It is because he has understood that there is still a possibility that the same crafty serpent which had deceived Eve could also deceive the Corinthians and all of us as well. How? The answer is just by corrupting our minds! We desire to enjoy things that we are not allowed to. Without control. Without restriction.
So, the serpent uses our internal desire of what we want to be, to have and to do his job.
But before that let us take a look at how Adam and Eve were made to live?
Three questions about the first humans.
1st: Who where they?
2nd: What could they do?
3rd: What did they have?
( Study Chapters: Genesis 1, 2, 3)
Does the first question go with the idea of their nature and status?
In God’s everlasting plan our bible tells us that after God had created heaven and earth by his word, He created man says the bible, in Genesis 1:26-27
“ And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness… So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
And chapter 2 verses 7 says, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”
Job 33:4 says “ The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.”
God had created Man to the maximum standard he could ever have created.
The second question is related to the potential that man had been created with.
The verse of Genesis 1:26 is completed as “…and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
And vers 28 shows the blessing saying,” And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
Adam was also a genius to give a name to every beast of the field and every bird of the air.
The third question is all about possession. Look at Genesis 1:29-30 God said, “… I have given you every herb,… every tree… every beast…every bird…everything that creeps on earth… every green herb…”
Not only that but also God planted a garden in Eden put the man there to keep and tend it. The garden of Eden was actually where the presence of God dwells; where there was no shame. Flawless and absolute perfection.
Therefore, we can conclude that Man was created the best creature he could be and with the best potential he could have and the maximum property he could ever have. The breath, the flesh, and the environment or the presence of God is provided by God. God is the source of the existence and the reason of survival for mankind. He also put the tree of knowledge of good and evil as a sign of a faithful relationship with Man. Not to make an obstacle. Therefore, it was the atmosphere of absolute freedom for Adam and Eve. Perfect freedom! Have you ever thought of living in an area that you lack Nothing?
Then, how did the serpent strategically corrupt the mind of Adam and Eve?
The first thing he did was recalling the blessing they had been given and made the statement a question. He added a question mark. Remember that he did the same thing Jesus Himself after He had fasted for forty days. ( Mathew 4:1-14)
Then, he continued saying, “You will surely not die”, meaning “you will have a life without God.” Then, “…He knows that in the day you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” He made The good God a liar. Falsified promise. Vain hope.
Then what happened? The bible says,
“ And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise,…” She was looking at the tree every day. But now, she saw it differently. She saw it in the context of being like God while they were made like Him. But now, independent, self-governing, self lead and exist by oneself. Finally, he succeeded in turning this self-existing lust into a fight between God and humans. Terrible!
When we come back to the cause of the fear of Apostle Paul, he ended the verse saying “…so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” The outcome of the corrupted mind is lack of simplicity. The word “simplicity” literally means singleness. That means we are supposed to be single to Christ. We belong to Him alone! To understand this more we can see the prior verse of this statement.
2nd cor 11:2 says; “ For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”
So, the success of the serpent is corrupting your singleness to God and to God alone. Not to other gods, not to other people, most importantly not to yourself.
Here, the idea of freedom should never compromise that we are the property of God. (see also Deut 39:2) Therefore we should define the concept of the perfect freedom in this context even though it doesn’t look perfect. So, freedom is not without a boundary while the boundary is not a prison but the principle or standard of living the people are made to have.
(study Verses Lucas 15:11-32, John 13:2, Rome Chapter 6,7 and 8, Galatians 5:1, Phil 4:5-8, …)