Freedom or Slavery?
Anabel Gillham, www.lifetime.org
"...for by what a man is overcome,
by this he is enslaved" 2 Peter 2:19
I read that verse and decided to dig a little deeper for understanding. I checked with my friend, Mr. Webster, to clarify some meanings:
Overcome: to get the better of in competition; to master; prevail over; or surmount; to win.
Slave: a person having no freedom or personal rights; one dominated by some influence.
Let's imagine a person "enslaved" to some sort of drugs. What is he like? Well, from what I've read or heard from those with whom we have counseled, he is a driven person with one passionate goal—to satisfy a burning need. This desire may be so all-consuming and powerful that in seeking to meet this craving he is in danger of harming others or himself. His whole body is screaming out for satisfaction—the sense of well being that this "force" inside him will bring about when he is "high"—when he is "overcome" by this urgency—this frantic need. When this happens, he has the feeling that all is well. He is confident. He has no fear. He does things he normally wouldn't do. His will has been "anesthetized." He has no control. He is "enslaved" to this drive.
Lord, I know that other things can control me—it doesn't have to be a substance that abuses my body like drugs or alcohol. It can be anger or pride or depression, any number of things, and when I am under the "control" of these things I am "enslaved" to them. I might lash out with hurtful words to someone I dearly love, or do things that I know are wrong. It seems as though my will is anesthetized! I do what I don't really want to do. I am under the domination of something or someone.
Now, let's think about a person enslaved to Jesus Christ. What is this person like? He has this burning passion to know Jesus and to bring honor to Him and that passion may be so all-consuming and powerful that he gives himself and all he possesses completely to fulfilling that passion. When this person is under the control of this inner "force" there is confidence, there is no fear, there is a peace that is inexplicable to others. He does things that he normally wouldn't do—kind things, loving things, thinking of others and how to encourage them. This "inner force" controls him.
There is this profound difference: A person enslaved to drugs has lost control of his will—the desperate craving of his body controls him. A person enslaved to some pattern of behavior, such as pornography, greed, hateful words, or jealousy—is under the control of that action. The man enslaved to Christ chooses to become enslaved. He chooses to place himself under Christ's control. He gives up his personal rights. His love for Jesus gives him a new love for others and for their well-being. His will has been committed to Christ and it is with our "will" that we make decisions. You've never made up your mind to do or say anything! Your mind suggests to will what to do and will makes the decision.
So after "digging deeper," what do I do? Well, I examine myself and ask the Holy Spirit to guide me in this very personal examination. What controls me? What influences me to the degree that I do things I deplore—things I am ashamed of—things not in keeping with my decision to be under the control of the Lord. And when I comprehend, when I become aware of these "deplorable" actions, then I tell Christ, "I don't want to do things like this. I want You to control me. Thank You for giving me that option—freedom, or slavery. I love You."