The Big Lie about freedom
The Big Lie that keeps many people from getting the big idea of Freedom Season is,
Freedom means the freedom to be myself, express myself, be true to myself, follow my heart, do what I choose to do, regardless of what is going on around me.
This lie has some truth to it. Oppression is a terrible thing. Life itself becomes suffocating and oppressive if we are overly concerned about other people's opinions of our choices. Integrity and strength of character are crucially important. But the lie will not lead us to the freedom and integrity it promises, and we know it.
We know that we have to take other people's welfare into account in our choices because our choices affect them. We know that huge things happen that are out of our control, such as the COVID pandemic, and we are not free to ignore them. We know that we are not individual droplets floating around in a vast space, and we do not want to be "free" in that sense.
So we settle for the goal of living as freely as is realistically possible. Our ideal is the freedom to follow our heart. Our reality falls short of that. That's life, or so we think.
We may not realize there is a counter-intuitive way out of this half-free kind of living. Get a new "self," one that is capable of total freedom instead of just partial. The new self would be free to express itself completely and we could follow it 100% of the time, knowing it would never lead us to disrespect or harm anyone else. But does such a self exist? If it does, would we risk trading our current self, our core identity, for a "self" we don't know yet?
That is the trade that Jesus, the Freedom King, calls us to make, trusting his word that it will lead to total freedom in his new era of freedom. "Whoever saves his/her life ["self"] will lose it, but whoever loses his/her life ["self"] for me will find it ["a new free self"]" (Luke 9.24).
This trade is what all the "Freedom" pages on the SYNC site are trying to make clear to people. Those who realize that the Big Lie is a lie will realize they do not have to settle for a half-free life. As free citizens of the kingdom of Jesus, we are new people, totally free because our new selves are totally aligned with the will and the reality of Jesus the King.
In a sense we are "under his control," but he is not Hitler, and this rhythm we hear is not for a goose-step march. This is a dance rhythm. It is liberating not confining. Jesus is the Freedom King, and our new selves love him.
How you can tell if you are falling for the Big Lie
Very simple. If you see yourself turning down the trade that Jesus says would lead to fulfillment in life, you are under the influence of the Big Lie.
You keep on looking for fulfillment in life through your old selfish definition of "freedom". You stick to the familiar path and keep hoping it will eventually get you where you want to go. If you believed the truth that Jesus is telling you about how authentic freedom works, you would see right through the Big Lie and you would trade your current life for the new, unexplored one he is talking about.
Unexplored things are scary, and Jesus is not pretending it will be easy to let go of the Big Lie. In fact, he made a full disclosure of just how agonizing it can turn out to be.
In the biggest crisis of his life, when he knew he was about to be arrested, condemned, and executed, he asked God his Father to find another way to accomplish his mission. He sweat blood over it in the Garden of Gethsemane, but in the end he said the words that I call his hallmark, the defining mark of authenticity, "Not my will but yours be done" (Luke 22.42).
Those words break the power of the Big Lie. Jesus gave up his personal freedom for the sake of fulfilling his assignment in God's freedom campaign. That is what we have to do to "follow him". Even in our moments of crisis, we keep telling God, "OK, my King, your way not mine. Here we go."
That is the front door and the only door to free citizenship in Jesus's kingdom. "Whoever loses his life for me will find it" (Luke 9.24). As we lay down the freedom to live life our own way, we discover what real freedom is.