By Jerry Lankford, MBA, MACC, MDiv, LPCS
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” — Luke 4:18-19
These words are Jesus’ Mission Statement. The rest of the Luke demonstrates how he fulfilled this mission.
I am struck by the words, “He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives.” These are words that resonate strongly with us as Americans. Yet, isn’t it much riskier to be free than we realize?
Of course, one of the best examples would be prisoners. Prisoners long for freedom, yet when they are released, they quickly realize that they must now find a place to sleep, a job, and they must feed themselves.
These would be daunting tasks for someone who has lived his life with clarity and limited choice. There has been a designated place to sleep, no choice. There were three meals a day, no multi-page menu. There was an assigned job to do, minimal choice.
Freedom represents an opportunity to succeed. It also presents the chance to fail. Is it a big wonder that many manipulate their circumstances to return to prison? I would think it may seem safer.
The Israelites had the same experience when they left Egypt. They longed for freedom, but when they “caught” it, they began to long for the good old days. It is risky to be free. In fact, the only way we can handle the risk is through faith.
In my counseling practice, I see many men and women who are in captivity. They believe their current circumstance is safer. Bluntly, it’s safer to stay the way I am than to change. This can apply to employment, depression, addictions, and relationships.
These fears force many of us to do nothing. As captives, we endure lives of quiet desperation because we are afraid. Indeed, fear is a cause of the mental illnesses I encounter. Freedom requires risk. Risk costs us something. Thus, Freedom can be pricey. We can’t just sit back and wait for others to take care of us.
We fought the American Revolution to win our Freedom. We know it’s worth it.
Are you willing to fight for your Freedom?
I think the lesson, the connection between the American Revolution and our own, is that both require a band of brothers or sisters around us to help us in that fight. You need training and preparation, but you can be free.
Build your army.
When people you can trust support you in the battle for your life, you can cement your faith. Then, step-by-scary-step, when the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.