Thoughts On Freedom And Its Alternatives
If one Googles “slavery in America,” most results on the first page are about black history. Nevertheless, millions of people are in bondage that is not dependant on their color or race. Here are several areas:
- Millions of people are addicted to alcohol, tobacco or caffeine. Their day would come unglued if they could not have these substances. Millions more are addicted to foods that cause disease and prescription drugs to relieve their symptoms.
- Millions more are addicted to novels and fiction—fiction on TV with crime, sex or violence, living in unreal world. Like health reflected the food we eat, our mental health reflects what we think on.
- Millions are addicted to gambling or its safer, but still delusional form, trading in the markets.
- Millions more are addicted to false teachings on life. They would like to believe it doesn’t matter what they do, God loves them (true) but they may think their destiny is secure because they once said the sinner’s prayer or they trust the priest who says their sins are forgiven.
#1 is about physical bondage, #2 brings bondage of emotions and relationships. #3 is about money and #4 is about spiritual bondage and destiny. These are not exhaustive—there are other forms and they don’t necessarily have anything to do with being black, a woman or being from China; the US is oppressive too.
All of the above may be summarized by the Great Teacher’s Sermon on the Mount when he said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” What did he mean by ‘mammon’?
The concordance shows it as riches or wealth. Ron Blue, a CPA who specialized in millionaires said all of his clients wondered how much more money they needed to be secure. They had more wealth than 99% of people, but still didn’t feel secure.
Getting to the heart of the issue, they were right. True security is basing our lives on those things that are eternal and cannot be taken from us like money. They were serving mammon as Christ said in his sermon.
And when we serve mammon in any of the above forms (1-4), we may think we are serving God (and our fellow man) but we are fooling ourselves in not discerning our real motive.
Knowing the truth can set us free from the above four areas of bondage, but freedom requires wise choices on our part and often, an uncomfortable period of withdrawal.
For physical addictions like quitting tobacco or caffeine, here are some suggestions.
#1. A person’s choice to quit is the rudder on a ship—it turns you in the right direction; just stay on course. #2. Quitting over a long weekend when you don’t have to work Friday or Monday may be helpful to allow less stress and a change in habit patterns.
#3. When a craving hits, repeat your choice with a decided “No!” and go for a walk, get a drink of water, stall off the craving for a few minutes and it goes away, like the urge to go to the bathroom when you can’t.
#4. Extra sleep and a lighter diet is helpful. Heavy meals mean a foggy brain with weaker will power.
#5. Avoid the chair you smoke in or buddies that smoke till you are over the hump in 3-4 days. They are not your friend if they know you are quitting and offer you a smoke.
#6. Sometimes a crutch is helpful. If you get a craving, maybe sugarless gum or sucking a lemon cuts it.
#7. Give yourself a spiritual vitamin each day by reading the Bible and asking God to help you. He usually meets people more than half way and in proportion to our seeking Him. Doing so will give you a valuable experience that can apply to the other areas mentioned above.
Returning to the major area of bondage for most people, some don’t feel they are worth much if they don’t have those things that money can buy, but they are in danger of missing what money can’t buy. Our worth is not based on past accomplishments or what we have.
Worth of anything is based on what someone paid for it. In this case, we have high value because the Bible says, God loves us—we were made in His image and He involved Himself in an expensive plan to pay the price for our sins and reconcile us to His love.
This can be one of the greatest motivating factors to free us from bondage, because it’s His will that we live free. The Bible is a textbook of life and how to live healthy, happy and with a great destiny.
My mother said, “Two can do anything together if one of them is God.” We can overcome our obstacles and addictions. Let’s set our goal to be free. It will come soon if we think and pray daily for wise choices.