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One night, someone broke into a shop but did not steal a thing. Instead, he created mayhem by switching the price labels on everything, devaluing the valuable and overinflating the cheap.
Next day, staff quickly realised what had taken place and restored the price labels back to their correct settings.
As the coronavirus control measures are eased and we experience fewer limitations on our lives, we have started to sense how valuable freedom is. Yet, at the same time, we are becoming increasingly suspicious that the label on freedom has been switched.
For some people appear to be devaluing freedom. They seem to think it means no constraints on their behaviour. They have the right to do whatever they want, even if it causes damage to themselves, to others and to the environment.
Jesus makes it clear that freedom is something quite different. It is being set free from the tyrannical oppression of our own self-centredness – what the Bible calls sin – empowering us to be free to love God by willingly obeying his Word and to love others by humbly looking out for their best interests.
Not only did Jesus tell us in his teaching and show us by his example what label freedom should have, but by his real death on the cross, his physical and historical resurrection and the gift of his Spirit, he made it possible for us to experience it.
We must not be conned by the switch that has been made to freedom’s label.
Instead, let us restore its label back to its correct, Jesus-defined and life-changing setting, and through faith in Jesus alone, value and enjoy the freedom he secured by his death.
Rev Dr Rodger Crooks, Free Church of Scotland, Tarbert and Lochgilphead.