I once saw a certain picture of a man walking down a lonely street in China. I thought to myself, what does that feel like? To be a servant of the government. Defeated. As a Christian, discriminated against.
No matter where we find ourselves in the days ahead, I invite you to reimagine freedom — a shift from a focus on the state of our environment to the state of our soul in any environment.
That is the essence of freedom. I can also tell you, I have discovered the actual secret of life. It’s found in Philippians 4:11-13, nlt.
“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
There it is. The essence of true freedom is the ability to be content whether I’m abased or I abound. In other words, have hope, no matter where you find yourself.
When Paul was writing 2 Corinthians chapter two, he was a mess. He was stressing about the church in Corinth. He was supposed to meet up with Titus, but Titus never showed. Paul just stopped where he was in his writing to say in v. 14,
“But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.”
Paul compares his situation to that of a Roman Triumphal Procession and cheers that Christ is our conqueror, leading us out of the kingdom of darkness, where there is defeat, where there is death, and we are brought into life! We don’t have to figure it all out ourselves. We just have to follow Christ in His procession.
It might be in the moral decline of our country or, like Paul, a personal situation getting you down — the essence of hope is that you can have it in any situation. The essence of hope is truth. Truth in the gospel.
There is freedom in God’s presence.
“But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image” (2 Corinthians 3:16-18, nlt).
That kind of freedom comes from an eternal source, no matter what kind of country you live in or trial you’re facing. Let us reimagine freedom together.