Freedom can be an odd concept at times. When toddlers begin the walking stage, they often struggle against limitations on their freedom to explore. That struggle can continue throughout various developmental stages, even into adulthood.
Why do limits on our freedoms seem so hard to understand? On the one hand, the answer to that question seems obvious. Why would anyone want limits on their ability to choose whatever they want to do or see? On the other hand, true freedom is only found within limits where safe boundaries are established to provide protection.
Jesus referred to this idea in His story of the Good Shepherd found in John 10. He describes a loving shepherd who acts like a gate for his sheep so they may safely go out and find pasture, only to return at the end of the day. In that way, Jesus says that, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10b).
In other words, through close obedience to the shepherd, the sheep experience a rich life with thoughtful limitations on their freedom.
That’s the paradox of freedom. It is when we allow a loving Heavenly Father to shepherd our lives — obediently listening to His voice through the Holy Spirit and not abusing our freedom as a license to go beyond the safety of His love — that we will experience “life to the full.”
Heavenly Father, allow me to enjoy the freedom that comes from complete surrender to your will for my life. Amen.
Go Deeper — Rather than focusing on what you are missing out on as a follower of Christ, consider how He keeps you safe in His arms.
Photo Credit: Annie Theby