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If I become a Christian, won't I lose my freedom?

Photo of Prison CellDoes Christianity put one in a straight jacket? Well, consider this. A fish, because it absorbs oxygen from water rather than air, is only free if it is restricted and limited to water. We argue that man without God is like a fish out of water.

Tim Keller in his book Reason for God observes that "One of the principles of love—either love for a friend or romantic love—is that you have to lose independence to attain greater intimacy. If you want the 'freedoms' of love—the fulfillment, security, sense of worth that it brings—you must limit your freedom in many ways. You cannot enter a deep relationship and still make unilateral decisions or allow your friend or lover no say in how you live your life. To experience the joy and freedom of love, you must give up your personal autonomy....Freedom, then, is not the absence of limitations and constraints, but it is finding the right ones....Once you realize how Jesus changed for you and gave himself for you, you aren't afraid of giving up your freedom and therefore finding your freedom in him."

Keller also argues, "If Jesus is your center and Lord, and you fail him, He will forgive you. Your career [or whatever else you place importance on] can't die for your sins. You might say, 'If I were a Christian I'd be going around pursued by guilt all the time!' But we are all being pursued by guilt because we must have an identity and there must be some standard to live up to by which we get that identity. Whatever you base your life on—you have to live up to that. Jesus is the one Lord you can live for who died for you—who breathed his last for you. Does that sound oppressive?...If Jesus is the Creator-Lord, then by definition nothing could satisfy you like he can, even if you are successful. Even the most successful careers and families cannot give the significance, security, and affirmation that the author of glory and love can."

God does not want us to give up anything except that which is harmful to us. Lose our freedom? Just the opposite (Galatians 5:1)! One of the most profound revelations in all of the Bible is this: Jesus said that by following Him, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32). Religion works on the basis of fear. But Christianity is born of a desire to be like God. Romans 6:1-14 reminds us that "we who died to sin...sin will have no dominion over you." We will not be enslaved. Christianity is not bondage, but freedom! Profound, joyous, glorious freedom!