True Freedom Is in Obedience

Yael Eckstein  |  May 29, 2023

Tomb of unknown soldier

If you are willing and obedient,
    you will eat the good things of the land… —
Isaiah 1:19

As America pauses this week to honor those who made the greatest sacrifice so others may enjoy freedom, I share my thoughts on the biblical meaning of freedom and what that means as citizens of two great democracies and people of faith.

One of the most challenging aspects of being a parent of teenagers is the issue of freedom. On one hand, kids want their freedom. On the other hand… well, you know what I mean. But seriously, restricting freedom is not always the best option. It may work well in the short-term, but at the end of the day, my kids will grow up and make their own choices. I need to equip them to use their freedom wisely.

There’s a poem about freedom by a famous Indian poet, Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, which expresses what I believe is the biblical idea of freedom.

In my hand I hold a violin string.

It is free to bend and move in any direction.

I tightly bind the string to my violin.

It is no longer able to bend and move,

But now, for the first time, it is free to sing.

True Freedom Is in Obedience

The message is clear and powerful. Too many people misunderstand freedom. They equate freedom with no restraints at all. For example, if I express my freedom to eat anything I want in any quantity at all times, I will quickly find my freedom to live a healthy and active life is compromised. But if I submit myself to exercise and am disciplined and careful about what I eat, I will have more freedom to live an enjoyable life.

And this is the message of Isaiah, too, when he wrote, “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land…” What Isaiah teaches us is that when we are obedient, we ultimately gain. We are better off listening to God’s Word instead of our own impulsive feelings. True freedom comes in our obedience to God.

If we want to experience and have the good things life has to offer, then we need to be willing to submit our will to God’s will. The more we put aside our own egos, the more we will personally benefit from our relationship with Him.

Or to use the imagery of the violin string, by binding ourselves in obedience to God’s will, we find a higher freedom to sing His praises and partake of His blessings.

That is true freedom.

Your Turn:

How has your life been enriched by obedience to God? Give thanks for the freedom to serve Him and experience His love and grace.