Fellowship at the Ranch

Jim Wikins

Freedom. At what point are we really free? At birth we come out of our mothers’ wombs totally naked, and in a sense finally free of the restriction of space. Now breathing air instead of fluid, blinking at the light instead of seeing only darkness, in only the strictest sense are we now free. Yet, instead of being really free, we find ourselves in a new state of dependence. We can’t feed ourselves, walk by ourselves, clothe ourselves, or clean our soiled diapers ourselves. As babies we are so totally not free.

You would think that choice seems to make an important impact on the amount of freedom one enjoys, and that this comes to us at some point early in life. My wife used to lay out the clothes for our children to wear and give them options. You can wear the blue shorts and matching top, or the green pants and matching top, which do you choose? This was a great way to include the child in the decision process, but let’s be honest, it wasn’t freedom. Freedom would mean the child can pick from any clothes in the closet, or simply choose not to wear clothes at all. And in our home, this was not their choice to make.

So freedom becomes more of an ideal, than an experiential reality. In life I am free to do a certain thing, but not others without consequence or in some cases punishment. This leads some people to suggest that freedom then is a state of mind. Rather like the child who is repeatedly told to sit down in the high chair, who finally and rebelliously acquiesces while boldly saying, “I may be sitting down on the outside, but inside I’m still standing up.”

Our world today is alive with the news of people/groups rebelling against their dictatorial leaders. They are demonstrating in some places, firing weapons in other places, some are placing their lives on the line literally. For what? The freedom to choose? Yes, but it’s not simply freedom of choice; it’s more importantly about living with purpose. A purpose of my choosing.

This is something lost on our American culture today, because we are “free” to make so many choices on our own. In a materialistic, capitalistic economy and culture that breeds more is better, we are no longer free. We are in bondage to an ideology which is self-centered, self-propagating, self-exalting. This ideology is seen in every facet of government, education, or entertainment venue. Even now, I’m not completely free to write these words without some repercussion, from those who think them too harsh. My email box will soon fill with notes from those who disagree with my perspective.

There is only one thing that will ever make us free. Free from what other men think. Free from what a government wants to ram down our throats. Free from the tyranny of dictatorship or free from the power mongers in a so-called democratic nation. One brave man, master teacher, divine human said: “You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Then before he left this planet he gave us this: “I am the Truth, I am the way, and I am the Life.”

Finding freedom is finding Jesus Christ. It is that simple.