“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1 KJV).
“Freedom” is something that virtually everyone seeks to possess. For instance, some march for freedom and some have died for it. Athletes and celebrities buy out their contractual agreements in order to purchase their freedom. We divide the global community into those who are members of the “free world” and the citizens of other nations who are not. But when we stop to examine the idea of freedom on an individual basis, this concept becomes much more personal.
While some may enjoy a great deal of freedom on a societal level, things may be quite different for the individual members of that society. For instance, there are many who are enslaved to various types of addictions. Those addictions may take the form of a dependency upon alcohol or tobacco. Others engage in various forms of substance abuse through legal or illegal drug use.
There are others who are enslaved by different compulsive urges. Those impulses may be expressed through uncontrolled acts of aggression, compulsive gambling, self-harm, or similar types of conduct. Some addictions are linked to things like pornography while others are associated with more innocuous pursuits like gaming or shopping. Then there are those who are seemingly addicted to the approval, attention, and validation offered through various forms of social media.
These observations should be readily apparent to anyone who lives and works in our modern-day world. We can use the word-picture given to us here in Galatians 5:1 to associate these various forms of bondage with something called a “yoke.” A yoke is a type of harness that unites two animals together when pulling a wagon, plow, or other implement. An animal that is harnessed in such a manner is placed in a position of servitude as it is made to pull whatever burden is placed upon it.
Christ offers us the freedom to overcome the yokes that hold us in bondage, no matter what type of enslavement may be involved. As Jesus said in John 8:36, “…if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” Those who seek freedom from such things can also find help, direction, and encouragement from the Biblical book of Philippians…
“for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).