There are several levels of freedom, the most basic is the freedom to do whatever we want. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to do good or bad and so on. It is the fundament for us to use our free will with skill and learn from our choices as we sow and reap.
Then there is a higher level of freedom, one that many find odd. Something they rather think of as strict and limitating. That is the freedom from captivity on earth and being freed from lesser desires. Foolish to some, yet wisdom to those who see the value of avoiding all the crappy consequences. This might mean staying away from the “candy” we desire or doing things we don’t like, yet the fruits of such choices are so much more valuable. For what is the joy of candy that lasts a few minutes and make you crave for more the next moment? Resulting in battles of temptation and a temple that mourns. How much more joyful is it not to feel bliss in every cell by avoiding destruction in the first place?
This type of freedom cannot be faked. Your desire tells you to what degree you are bound. However the more you see the negative effects of poor choices, the less you will desire them in general. Gratitude and seeing what you gain is the way to stay away from the lurky options, and sometimes we need to explore the mud in detail to come to that conclusion in our own mind.
Captivity can be divided into two different categories. The first is sin and things that are outside of God’s law. These are acts and choices that feed, open up to or are aligned with darkness and thereby cause harm. Even if we don’t notice or see the direct connections, sins still enslave and destroy. It may be impossible to avoid them all, but the less bad we engage in the more we may be blessed.
Captivity is common in yet another form though, and that is religious legalism, pride and condemnation. Causing people to be enslaved inside of or based on the law, a tricky version that runs like a plague. It hinders believers from being real, fulfilling their missions and be effective. It also prevents non-believers to enter in into the faith as it looks like a hell-hole.
With captivity on both sides, there’s a fine line in the middle where real freedom resides, and we’re invited to stay there. The key is to know God’s law and follow as He leads, real freedom is being free from the desire to go against God in the first place. Followng the law in general, if we wish, yet abide by it or even go against it if God asks us to. Therefore freedom cannot be obtained until all religious tantrums are laid dead, yet our personal freedom will increase the less we desire to sin. For the law is real, yet God can work outside the box and use the laws in creative ways to accomplish a purpose. He’s the chemist applying His excellent skills, causing phenomenal effects where all seems impossible.
God’s laws are not dry words on sheets of paper, but practical concepts like gravity and the physical laws that governs us all. There are complex concepts behind the words with real dynamics and functions that intertwine. Yet as with the rest of creation, in the middle of it all, it is governed by simplicity and beautiful outlines.
To me sin has nothing to do with blame, shame and guilt or pointing fingers. Instead I see it as guidlines to help us know how to reach peace and tranquility. Set up like signs along our path, they are reminders of how to reach God and not get lost. With the mind of a physisist it made perfectly sense that jumping off a cliff may get us killed due to the law of gravity. Combined with a paraglider however, the stunt may work out well, and the same goes for the spiritual laws we are subject to. There are general rules that we benefit from following, they prevent us from harm and decay. Still it’s like science and more complex than we see, being rigid is not the solution. For God is creative and has many ways, and sometimes He does something new and spectacular that goes beyond our understanding from the textbook.
Finally, as the crown, comes the ultimate freedom as our souls are set free from eternal damnation and all aspects of captivity. That is given to us as a gift by Christ as He died on the cross. Paving the way to set us free for eternity, no matter how we have lived or what choices we have made. Bypassing the law through mercy for all who will humble themselves enough to receive it. Using our free will to avoid captivity on earth is still wise and a way of expressing our gratitude. However no longer are we bound for eternity by our mistakes and shortcomings, as Our heavenly Father has provided a precious way.