Immanuel Kant was one of the greatest philosophers of the 18th century. In one of his works (Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, chapter 2), he brought the idea that being free is not doing what you want, but doing what you don’t want. And today I want to talk about this idea and how it appears in different ways in the bible too.
The power to evaluate
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh. Rather, serve one another humbly in love.”Galatians 5:13
As humans we have the false feeling that, if we do what we want, we are free. Kant breaks this pattern and shows that, if you do what you want, without measuring consequences, you become a slave to desire and, from that, it is impossible to be someone free.
To be free is to do what we don’t want to. For example, I train in a gym. If someone offers me a lot of candies and fried foods after a workout, my craving would be immediately accept it and eat it all at once. But that way I would become a slave to desire, which is contrary to freedom.
As a free person, I can analyze the situation.I can choose in a way that I do not harm the evolution of my physical activities. I can also think about how I would feel after eating it all. Evaluating everything prudently, I manage to say no to what would harm my health. This makes me free, able to choose beneficially and make the best decision, not simply fulfill my wish.
The power to choose
“I have the right to do anything,’ you say — but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’— but I will not be mastered by anything.“1 Corinthians 6:12
Basically this is what I see in this text of 1 Corinthians. I can do anything because I am free, but not everything builds me up.
When the gospel says that through Christ we conquer freedom, it is not telling us to go out living all that is in the world, but He gives us wisdom. Freedom requires discernment from us, which we achieve through the Holy Spirit.
Being able to choose between more than one option is freedom and not just paying attention to what we want.
The knowledge that the Word brings becomes power through the Spirit in us. Freedom also comes through autonomy, wisdom and intelligence that we receive from the Father. It concerns moments in which we have the power to choose and, even if it hurts at the moment, we manage to choose intelligently and prudently.
The power to deliver
“I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.”Psalm 119:45
To be free in God is to choose to follow His path knowing that He has the best.
Leaving aside our wills when they do not match His, killing our desires when they are not the Father’s desires, is indeed the grace of freedom that we receive in Christ.
God took us out of the kingdom of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of light, so that we might be enlightened in our decisions. We often don’t even realize it, but our flesh wants to return to that dark place at all times. That’s why, with the help of the Holy Spirit and through the lens of the Word of God, we must always analyze before making any decisions. At the time it may seem like the best way, but then what? Will I not become a slave to what I want?
Choosing the Father’s path is the greatest and best way to be free. True freedom is understanding that God’s will is always the perfect choice. Even if for that I need to kill my desire at some point.
Surrendering everything into His hands is living the freedom offered by Him, and that is the best decision ever!