Experience true freedom

Scars of a whipped slave (April 2, 1863, Baton...
Scars of a whipped slave (April 2, 1863, Credit: Wikipedia)

I have my own share of life’s tough times that made me feel down inside. When I look back, I see many addictions where I experienced the cycle of defeat, misery and woe. Though they are not drug addictions, they are addictions in the sense that they make you a prisoner in a certain point- they are things that enslave, imprison, captivate and subdue. Looking inside me, it is a “wretched man that I am.” The question is always something like this, “who can deliver me? who can save me?”

As I was meditating in Genesis chapter 1, the Bible tells that God designed man to “subdue the earth, have dominion over creation.” Man is the one responsible to manage the creation of God and cultivate it to become fruitful. Man must be over creation and not be under it. But as I went to chapter 3, the first man and woman committed a very terrible mistake and the Lord drove them out from His presence. This is a sad reality. To be separated from the Source of Life, to be thrown away from the Way of Joy, and to be a stranger from the Greatest Person is man’s greatest tragedy. Man is like a beautiful flower cut on its stem, away from the source of its life. It is like a rose that looks healthy but deep inside, he is slowly dying, slowly fading, losing its glory and life. Death comes. Separation comes. Problems come. And, here comes addictions.

The sad plight of man brought him misery and woes. It includes the perversion of his original design. Instead of him being the lord over creation, he is the one being lorded by it. I think this is the simplified meaning of addiction- the creation, not the Creator, controls you. (Though it can be said that “I am addicted by the Creator,” it can be certainly ascribed to creation only because the word addiction has a negative connotation.)

Being a slave of creation means that man is no longer taking charge of his own spirit. He is like a driver out of control. He is on his way to death without help in himself. Like a rudderless ship tossed mercilessly by the ravaging waves of the sea. Like a plane with a broken compass, falling down from the stormy skies down to its death crash.

After Genesis 3, the story of man had lots of tragedies. Death after death, killings after killings, murder, deceit, corruption, pride, lust, envy, supplanting, sorrow, misery and groaning. It’s like a clear black after a great white. After Genesis 3, addictions have become part of man’s life. There could be no man without addictions. He is imprisoned until he dies there. But along the way after Genesis 3, there are glimpses wherein the Creator rescues humanity. He did not totally left us in the dark, He saves.

As I look at the world now, that is still true. Drunkenness, envy, lust, pornography, drugs, money, pride, fame, filthy lucre, idolatry, laziness, disobedience, bitterness and many others still enslaves us. We call this sin. Man’s heart is clearly in bondage to things that displease God. There is this thing called the slavery of man’s will. Our wills cannot help but to love the very things that drew us away from our Creator. Our hearts are desperately inclined to offenses. Man’s mind is captured, controlled, and enslaved by the forbidden. His heart is indeed “dead” to things that are of God. Not only he is separated from Him, but he is also not interested, he is not seeking, and he is not believing his Creator.

So what does man need? How can addictions be cured? Man needs Rescue. Man needs rebirth. Man’s greatest need is the freedom of the will. He needs liberation. He needs true freedom. That freedom is the changing of his will to that which it opposes before. It’s the changing of the heart. But it’s not simple! In fact, it is humanly impossible. For in us dwelleth no good thing. In us is no hope, only in Christ alone.

To be reborn means that man needs to be renewed from the innermost part of his being. His heart must be totally changed from within. His old emotions must be replaced by new ones. Old things must pass away and new things must come.

The problem is sin. But the solution is deliverance. Man needs salvation because he cannot save his own. The need is to be picked up, to be salvaged, to be lifted up from the mires of sin. Man is utterly hopeless. The only hope is to cry out and ask for the salvation of the Lord.

Therefore, the world needs Christ. The world needs deliverance. Those in addictions need the power of Christ because it’s the only Power that can set free. Come to Jesus, call upon His Name, beg for His grace to save. Just like the Publican, we have to cry out “Have mercy upon me, Lord, a slave of sin!” Acknowledge your helplessness, wretchedness, and come to His feet in filthy rags. We have to wash His feet with our tears, wipe them with our face. We have to beg for His Spirit to come, and accept Him as a clean water that is poured down over our heads, and we shall be clean. Wait upon the great deliverance of the Lord, see how He changes the heart. It is a great deliverance, a total change from the very roots of our being.

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