I post and comment a lot on Facebook. In the process my friends and I have some great and provocative discussions on all kinds of topics.
Tonight a friend posted this quote attributed to Rick Joyner:
This dovetailed with something I was thinking about yesterday. Last night another friend had posted a video by the rock band The Who. That spurred me on to watch several more of their videos. While I haven’t been a huge Who fan, I do enjoy some of their music, especially the “Who’s Next” album. So last night I enjoyed the concert videos I found of the songs “Baba O’Reilly” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again”–arguably one of the best rock songs of all time.
While watching these videos I was really impressed by John Entwhistle’s bass-playing, as well as Keith Moon’s busy drumming style. I often look up bands I like on Wikipedia, and so before long I was reading about The Who, and especially Entwhistle and Moon.
The crazy and self-destructive life Moon led is no secret. (He died of a major drug overdose at the age of 32.) As I read more of the details, it made me sad. Keith probably felt he was living a life of “freedom” by flaunting so many conventions of society and just doing whatever he wanted in the moment. And a lot of other people would likely see this as a life of freedom, too–though they might not carry it to the extremes Moon did. But I thought: yeah – freedom to destroy yourself! – real freedom! (not).
Never has it been more clear to me that what many call freedom is really a form of bondage, and that the life of relationship, community, transformation, and discipline God invites us into is really the only path to true freedom. In our flesh we think selfishness is freedom and the relational “ties that bind” hinder freedom. But it’s really only in the context of community and behavioral boundaries that true freedom is possible.
A very personal example isn’t hard to find. I love to eat, and I confess I often eat more than I should. In my short-sightedness, I think freedom is being “free” to eat as much as I want, of whatever I want. But my oversize gut and all the extra poundage I carry actually weigh me down and hinder my freedom. Because I’m overweight I can’t move very quickly. If I ever had to literally run for my life, I’d be in real trouble. Being overweight also probably makes me less attractive to women, and less respectable to any I might desire to influence with my Christian witness.
So the “freedom” I think I have in my eating habits actually steals my freedom in other, more important areas. And this doesn’t even touch on the many ways in which relationships free us rather than hindering us which Rick Joyner referred to. As I wrote in one of my songs a number of years ago:
Real freedom’s so much more
Than just doing what we want to,
‘Cause when we hurt ourselves or others
Our freedom isn’t true.
Comes from having eyes to see
That we’ve freed from doing wrong
And liberated to do what’s right.
I think I understand that better now than when I wrote it back in the day. Maybe it’s time I really changed the way I look at freedom.
[Lyrics to “Your Wish Is My Command” (c) 1989 Morgan Trotter music.]