The Burden of Freedom
The difficulty of adapting to freedom is well-known in the prison community—especially in cases of long-term incarceration. And it’s quite a paradox since prisoners universally long to escape the limitations imposed by prison walls, yet, in some cases, once released they deliberately commit crimes in order to return to the familiarity of structured prison environments.
Frankly, these behaviors are predictable in light of the Scriptures. Of course, we are all familiar with the account of the Israelites who having been set free from their bondage in Egypt, shortly thereafter sought ways to return. Rather than emphasizing physical bondage, the New Testament addresses spiritual bondage. Notice Paul’s words in his letter to the Galatians:
But in the past, since you didn’t know God, you were enslaved to things that by nature are not gods. But now, since you know God, or rather have become known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elements? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again (Galatians 4:8-9)?
For freedom, Christ set us free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1)
Thankfully, God has shown us a way to adapt to the freedom we have in Christ. I describe that way in Principle #9 in Galatians in my Life Essentials Study Bible:
To be set free from the bondage of sin, we must become servants
of God and one another.
In essence, true freedom is actually exchanging one form of bondage for another. When we replace the bondage of sin with the willingness to be a bond slave (Greek: doulos) of Jesus, only then do we experience true freedom (Mark 10:44-45).