Nothing Left to Lose

Kris Kristofferson co-wrote it. Roger Miller first recorded it. Then versions by Gordon Lightfoot, Charlie Pride, Kenny Rogers, and numerous others were released. But, it was Janis Joplin who made it famous. 

Just as the counter-cultural, free-loving, drug-experimenting sixties was giving way to a new decade with troubles of its own, “Me and Bobby McGee” hit the air waves. No matter your age, you have most likely heard the song’s most famous line, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” The song captured the personal “freedom” of loving whomever you wanted whenever you wanted and the “freedom” that comes with not being tied down by anyone or anything. 

By definition freedom is the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved. Once achieved, it can usher in a sense of euphoria, peace, and contentment. Nevertheless, freedom always requires something in return. 

On the battlefield, freedom costs the lives of many. In society, freedom is won by securing the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. On a more personal level, a sense of freedom might be won with a graduation, a divorce, or paying off a significant debt. But, what about spiritual freedom?

At 13, I understood my need for a Savior, but sadly learned very little about freedom. I did all that I knew to do at the time. I repented of my sins, was baptized, taught others, and tried not to do anything wrong. That summed up my life for about the next 45 years. 

Then, I met some people who seemed to have a different outlook on life. Their spiritual life looked so much more joyful than mine or that of those in my circle of influence. Instead of critically critiquing the lives and habits of others and keeping their own troubles secret, these new friends freely admitted their mistakes. They even shared current struggles while remaining confident of a victory. They reveled in their relationship with Jesus. 

For the first time, I began to actually SEE freedom in Christ in action. I slowly began to realize just how much God loves us – even when we sin. When His love opened my heart enough to truly KNOW Jesus, not only as a Savior, but also as a close friend, I felt a deep, heavy sadness. My new friend suffered so much for me! Fully realizing that made me love Him even more. I am overwhelmed with  thankfulness for His grace and mercy. Acknowledging the fact that I house the Holy Spirit gives me the freedom to admit my weaknesses and trust that He will show me any and every thought or action that needs changing. Better still, He gives me the power to resist Satan’s schemes that threaten to enslave me. If that’s not freedom, I don’t know what is!

I hope you see all you have to gain by finding this kind of spiritual freedom, but you might be wondering what you have to lose. Consider this:

“Since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” (Romans 5:10-11 NLT) We find freedom when we tear up our mental picture of God as an angry, finger-pointing father. Only then can our MINDS comprehend a tender friendship with the God who loves us. Slowly, but surely, others begin to witness in us a joy that we quickly credit to God.

The Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 3:22) We find freedom when we hand over all our doubts about God’s love or our salvation. We believe that Jesus is who He says He is, and He can do what He says He can do. Most importantly, we believe that He can and will do it for us! We trade our will for His.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Psalm 139:23-24) Freedom is paradoxically found by handing over the reins of our lives to the Holy Spirit. We trust the Holy Spirit to help us replace negative thoughts, memories, and emotions with God’s promises found in Scripture.

“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.” (Philippians 3:8-9a NLT) So, when it comes to our souls (our mind, will, and emotions) freedom IS just another word for nothing left to lose. We’ve given our whole heart and soul to Him. In return, He opens wide the storehouse of heaven in a His magnificent display of His steadfast love!

Happy Freedom Day!

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