Freedom is a complex word. Dr. Victor Shepherd says that from a theological perspective “you are free only when you are freed…when you are freed from impediments to be acting in accord with your true nature, which by God’s grace is to be a child of God.” Dr. Paul Franks responds that a Christian philosophical view of freedom is “the ability to in some way be in control of having the desire that you have. It is not just freedom from having someone forcing you to do something; it’s also having alternatives available to you so that for any action that you take, it is a free action.” Dive deeper into their discussion in the article, ‘What is Freedom?’
In the fall of 2012 Tyndale University College & Seminary sent out a survey to find out how Tyndale students and church staff (primarily in Ontario) defined freedom, how freedom was lived out in their lives and how they made decisions. The answers from the survey found in the article “What Does Freedom Mean to You?” were varied, depending on the perspective of the respondents and what part of their life they were focused on at the time of the survey. One person found that after they honoured their commitments to family, church and work, they did not feel free. There was even one person who thought you should not define freedom-it is what it is.
We have freedom of choice, thus a person’s definition of freedom affects their daily choices. How do you make decisions? If we as Christians find our freedom by becoming a follower of Christ, how often do we consciously make choices from Christ’s perspective? In this magazine, Marie, a real estate agent, daily works through how she makes decisions and what the motivation is behind the choices she makes. Adam shares how he made choices in life after losing his father at the age of 12. Matthew found the move from private sector to pastoring happened instinctively and naturally while Daniel struggled with following God’s call to leave his pastoral role in a large church to work in the private sector and start a small group. For each person, different life circumstances affect their choices and their choices are made differently.
I believe with each thought, each choice and each action we either draw closer to or move further away from God. To make every choice, the smallest to the largest, from the perspective of being God’s child is daunting. Yet, each time I make decisions from the perspective of life’s busyness, the pain of loss, anger or frustration, I can look back and see what decisions I made without God and their repercussions. Freedom is complex and becomes even more so when lived out in daily life in the choices we make.