Have you ever been asked to define a common word, one you use frequently, only to realize it is a very difficult task? For that reason, I’m going to ask you to grab a dictionary and look up three words: “freedom”, “Lord” and “Lordship”. (I’m also going to give you abbreviated definitions from Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition).
Free.dom: 1: the quality or state of being free: a: the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action b: liberation from slavery or the power of another. freedom has a broad range of application from total absence of restraint to merely a sense of not being unduly hampered or frustrated.
Lord.ship: the authority or power of a Lord.
Lord: 1: one having power and authority over others: a: a ruler by hereditary right or preeminence to whom service and obedience are due.
How many times have you heard someone say that Christianity has given them great freedom. You may have said it yourself. I certainly have. So now, from a Christian’s perspective, how would we define freedom. Well, first, to do that in a meaningful way, it seems to me that we must start by defining and understanding the terms “Lord and “Lordship”.
Looking at the above definitions for Lord and Lordship, I have to say that our God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) certainly meets the definitions. Can you think of anyone of greater preeminence, power and authority than the God who, by the sound of His voice, created all space and time? Anyone greater than the One who created our Universe, galaxy, solar system and planet? Anyone greater than our God, who then populated our planet with life …and man? He has certainly proven His preeminence, power and authority over all others – many times over – and will do so again (for all time) at some point in the future.
Now, let’s talk about freedom. I see this as one of those dictionary definitions that has very little practical value in the world. Lets look at the phrase, “… total absence of restraint….” Are you kidding me! That friends, would not be “freedom” that would be hell on earth. It would be enslavement or death… period. Think about it, we give up freedom constantly to abide by laws and morality. (Yes, some people more than others). But, if we didn’t, no society could function, much less flourish. So, in practical terms, we do live in a state of not being unduly hampered or frustrated. [Please don’t go “political” on me]. And, it is by the same reasoning that I take exception to the phrase “the absence of necessity, …or constraint in choice or action”. Again, a valid definition of a concept that in it’s purest form, is unworkable in society. For society to function it is “necessary” that we use “constraint” on our natural impulses.
Applying this to Christianity, God gave us free will. He certainly does not coerce, or force, us into following Him or even believing in Him. By becoming followers of Christ, and placing our free will under His Lordship, we do not become unduly hampered or frustrated. Far, far from it. What we become is tempered by God’s morality and liberated from both Old Testament Law and Satan’s power to keep us bound in the slavery of sin. In fact, it is only through this liberation, that we are free to find our true purpose in life, gain our maximum potential for growth, and enjoy true freedom. Can I hear a, “Thank you, Lord”!