Bible Society of South Africa

God’s Perfect Freedom – 6 May 2020

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

25But those who look closely into the perfect law that sets people free, who keep on paying attention to it and do not simply listen and then forget it, but put it into practice — they will be blessed by God in what they do.

James 1:25GNBOpen in Bible reader

But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that brings freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does. James 1:25

Celebrating Freedom Day has taken an ironic twist this year, with so many of us incarcerated in our own homes; yet, in some ways, this may equip us better to assess freedom’s significance, on this important day for our country, and reflect on what we expect it to bring to our lives. Freedom to vote; being able to move around at will; constitutional rights that mean no limitations placed on where we live, our education, our marriages, our worship; in a just, prejudice-free society – do these things bring the desired fulfilment?

We can have vast amounts of joyful freedom and yet still be trapped within; conversely, we can be limited on many fronts, even imprisoned, and yet know inner freedom, and purpose for living.

Recently our two dogs, lured by a neighbour’s cat into the atrium area between our front door and the security gate, discovered, to their delight, the garden boxes ripe for digging. The wind blew the door closed, trapping them in the small atrium. Oblivious of their wrongdoing and that they were out of bounds, they thought they’d achieved glorious freedom and independence, and only realised they were trapped when they couldn’t get back to the garden. We then had to deal with the mess! I wonder if that’s how God sometimes feels about us?

Our bodies need freedom to move in order to function properly – as many have done very creatively this lockdown – but we’re not just bodies; we have been created with minds and spirits too. Sometimes our minds and spirits are in lockdown and are more in need of freedom than our bodies, but we become preoccupied with our physical needs and neglect them, then wonder why we’re still restless and lacking fulfilment.

James encourages us to “look intently into the perfect law that gives freedom”, something Paul did continually. Paul indicates that his freedom was not rooted in his physical state. He was able to say from prison, “Rejoice in the Lord always … Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God … I have learnt the secret of being content in any and every situation … I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”(Philippians 4:4,6,12-13)

Paul’s strength came from knowing Jesus and knowing that He’d set him free; free from the burden of six hundred and eleven laws and his own religious zeal. Indeed, Jesus had freed him from all his sin on the road to Damascus and, with it, the chains of a law that only Christ Himself could fulfil, enabling him to embrace His new complete, perfect law of love which “revives the soul”. (Psalm 19:7) Paul experienced joyful, meaningful freedom.

“If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, Your freedom fulfils our every need and makes us free indeed. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.20.14
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