God wants us all to be free
Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. –Galatians 5:1 MSG
Young Sandana** and her family, along with approximately twenty other slaves, were held captive by a brutal set of slave owners. These precious slaves toiled relentlessly for long hours every day in a South Asian rice mill. The slave owners beat the slaves, sexually violated the women, and were known to cruelly punish them. Even the International Justice Mission (IJM) investigators were attacked while attempting to secure freedom for these slaves. And yet, amidst such evil, God used Sandana—a brave twelve-year-old slave girl—to bring down her captors.
Due to the terrifying threats by the slaveowners, no one dared to tell the truth to authorities. Instead, one by one, the traumatized slaves denied to the magistrate that they were held against their will or abused. Yet, young Sandana found the courage to do what the bullies most feared: she spoke the truth. Sandana stepped forward and explained that she and the others were indeed enslaved and endured terrible treatment from the owners.
Emboldened by Sandana’s bravery in speaking the truth, her father and the other slaves now confirmed her story—in fact, they told of the slaves still hidden away at the rice mill.
Most reading this story today enjoy liberties these precious slaves would find difficult to comprehend. What an enormous privilege to hop into the car and drive to a coffeehouse for a $4 cup of coffee. What a treasured freedom we have to decide whether or not to go to bed early or watch back to back movies on a rainy day.
Some of the greatest believers who have walked this planet were more free as literal slaves than many of us who enjoy earthly freedoms and liberties but are trapped and not free in spirit. Our slavery might be figurative, yet it still keeps us from an abundant life. We struggle with painful memories and areas of bondage; specific issues trip us up and certain relationships weigh us down. Even in the midst of the world’s suffering, God cares deeply about us and wants us free as well. Completely free.
If we truly are believers, then we must believe the truth that says, it’s for freedom that Christ has set us free! We must refuse to be subject to a yoke of slavery (See Galatians 5:1). Our path to freedom is paved with truth, it points to peace, and it leads to a full life. Freedom requires honesty about our fears and insecurities. It requires replacing those lies with the beautiful, freeing truth of God’s Word.
God has a great plan for you—a plan that goes beyond personal comforts and small dreams; a plan to live free and to help secure the freedoms of others. God’s highest and best will for you involves a plan that will deeply affect your life and the lives of those you are destined to bless. They’re hoping you’ll have the courage and conviction to step up to all you were created to be and to accomplish..
Give me courage like twelve-year-old Sandana. I want to stand on the side of truth, be brave when I’d rather succumb to fear and be strong in the face of evil.