On August 28, 1963 when Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous speech "I Have a Dream" to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the Washington D.C. Civil Rights March, who had responded to a call to end racisim. Among the most quoted lines of the speech, include "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!" He ended this speech quoting from an old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
Martin Luther was addressing an all important issue of human living, that all are created equal and hence are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Are we really free?
Today in a world where in many nations individual freedom is valued and protected, in a world where we pay such a great price for freedom, we still seem prisoners of ourselves, our compulsive behaviors, our self-destructive habits, crippling fears, enslaving emotions, violent tempers, secret addictions, and more. These three days can change your life, as we discuss candidly the prisons all of us face and the power that can set us free! All of us!
But most of us refuse to recognize the fact that we are in some way enslaved or controlled by something.
None of us (or most of us here) would ever consider ourselves an "addict" - because the term "addict" is usually used in reference to a "drug addict".
But if we look beneath the surface, most of us, possibly all of us here are "addicted" (or enslaved, controlled) by what we may consider "everyday things". We're addicted to everyday things. Some of these may in some cases appear not so threatening - cell phones, email, money, accumulation, success, shopping, work - although these seemingly non-threatening things can end up becoming prisons that limit us.
Think about mobile phones. A Feb 2013 study states that on an average, people check their mobile phones every Six and half minutes, and check their mobile phones up to 150 times a day. For most people, the first thing they look at on waking up is their mobile phone.
And then there are some very destructive "everyday things" that control us like :
For the most part we live in DENIAL : Don't Even Notice I Am Lying
"The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves. We live in denial of what we do, even what we think. We do this because we're afraid" - Richard Bach
Facing reality demands effort and courage.
For example, think about a workaholic - he gets his entire sense of worth, purpose, and emotional "high" from his work. The more success he tastes the more he wants. Soon the lines that define hours of work and time for rest, family, recreation, etc. blur and work seems to consume everything. His health suffers - but he still continues. His marriage begins to disintegrate - but he blames it on his wife who does not understand, or excuses himself that after all he is taking good care of their material needs, etc..His world spins out of control and the "wheels fall off the cart"...but he does not see it happening. He is anesthetized to everything else. He is enslaved to his work and success.
To make matters worse, society in general collude in many ways to encourage everyday addictions. Corporations demand more and more from people - only making them modern day slaves to the desk, computer and cubicle - while the world around them collapses.
What does it mean to be free?
Freedom is the ability to choose what is right and to refuse what is wrong or detrimental to you. When we lose this ability - we've lost freedom. We have our will - but if our will is enslaved to something that drives us - compulsive behavior, we've lost our freedom.
#1, If I am in some sort of compulsive physical or psychological dependence on anything (habit, substance, activity) that i use to change my "mood" and give me a "high" - then I am really not free.
#2, If I continue to engage in these "mood altering" activities and feel I need more and more of this, even though I know it is detrimental and my life spins out of control - then I am really not free.
#3, If I have lost the power to choose, the power to say 'No', the power to make a rational choice rather than driven by compulsion - then I am really not free.
The Real Problem
Sometimes we think the real problem is the lack of "willpower". However, our willpower is only good as long as we say no to the first drink, no to the first puff on a cigarette, no to the first extra-marital affair, no to the first look at pornography, etc. Once the first step has happened, you are now susceptible for the next. Your will has weakened.
James 1:14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
James 1:15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—
John 8:34 Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.
Proverbs 5:22 His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, And he is caught in the cords of his sin.
Sin is like a slave-master
Genesis 4:7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it."
The Real Solution
The real solution is to deal with the problem of sin that enslaves us.
The Road To Freedom
The Story of the Prodigal (Luke 15)
John 8:31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
John 8:32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
Truth is a Person!
He gave His life to break sins power over our lives.
The Person Who Sets us Free!
John 8:36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
Breaking Everyday Addictions, Dr. David Hawkins ISBN 978-81-7362-888-7