Slave or Free?

freedom - Businessman slave tied up with chainImagine being chained. Heavy iron links binding your hands, feet, and neck. Around you are a couple hundred other folks in the same condition.  The place where you sit is dark and stifling hot. Flies and mosquitoes mercilessly attack your skin. A door opens allowing a spear of light to pierce the darkness. An unknown hand grabs your chain and growls something in an unknown language. You stumble, your legs stiff from sitting immobile.  The growler, however, doesn’t care and yanks your chain leading you through the light. As your eyes adjust you can make out a platform, a crowd, and a chaining post.  The growler pulls you up the steps and points to where you are to stand.  Before you is a sea of strange faces wearing strange clothes. Another man in fancy clothes begins to speak, some of the faces look elsewhere but most are focused on the fancy pants man. You hear other men call out and point into the crowd. The fancy pants man suddenly stops talking. The growler leads you off of the platform.  As you descend another chained person is being lead up.  The growler hurriedly places you into a pen of sorts and links your chains to iron rings embedded in the pavement.

Slavery, it’s not pretty. It means the loss of freedom, the loss of choice, the loss of dignity, and the loss of humanity.  Slavery requires obedience.  Unlike the slave auction portrayed above we choose our own master.  Bob Dylan sang “you gotta serve somebody”.  It may not seem like it but we often choose who or what we are enslaved to. 

Ask most folks and they would declare their freedom.  Freedom to live for their own pleasure. Freedom to think and believe as they choose. Freedom to say whatever comes to mind. Freedom to worship at the altar of Self.  There is, however, a strange economy at work that bears more resemblance to a Chinese finger puzzle than to an open door.  The more folks express a freedom of their own making the more enslaved they become. Yet, those who submit themselves to Jesus Christ find a freedom and purpose that is difficult to fully express.  Unless, of course, they again exchange their liberty for the chains of legalism, judgmentalism, and pride.  

Paul writes in Romans 6, “I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.” (Romans 6:19, NASB95)   Those who have chosen to become “slaves to righteousness” have chosen the narrow path. From the outside, it may look confining and boring. But for those on that path, there is freedom.  Freedom from guilt. Freedom from addiction. Freedom from meaninglessness, hopelessness, and insignificance. Freedom to safely open our hearts and our secrets to others. Freedom to live a life of purpose.  Freedom to find joy in the midst of sorrow, peace in the midst of turmoil, and love in the midst of rejection.

If you don’t know those freedoms perhaps you need to ask yourself a simple question – Who’s in charge of my life? Myself? My peers? My appetites? My family? My job? or Jesus?  


Dale Heinold
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Dale Heinold

Dale lives in central Illinois with Betty, his wife of 37+ years. He has a theology degree from Oral Roberts University. Dale works full time as an IT director for a local school district. He sees his writing as a ministry and hopes that you were blessed, challenged, and inspired by this article and
Dale Heinold
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  • Gaylene

    We just talked about this in Sunday school last week. Whom do we serve? What gives us true freedom? Of course Believers will answer Jesus Christ. BUT, when we examine our heart of hearts (which I believe we should do on a regular basis) does HE reign there? He has to for true freedom!

    • Dale Heinold

      Thanks Gaylene, How true, often we know the right answer but don’t look to see if we are living the right answer.

  • Isaac Tetteh Whyte

    Thank you pastor Dale Heinold,you always touch my heart with that of your powerful massage.may God bless you.
    Who is in charge of my life;woa!!!!!! Shut because,of the God;by whom in love for me He gave His only son to die for me;and after being my LORD and keeper.I am proud to say that JESUS is my LORD and keeper.

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