Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for whatever overcomes a man, to that he is enslaved. II Peter 2:19
Good morning Prayer Team!
Freedom is not something created by human beings. Democracy may have had its start in Ancient Greece, but freedom is something that is a gift from our Creator, and originates with the beginning of creation itself.
The very act of creation was an act of free will exercised by God Himself. When God created the human being, He gave the human being dominion over all the creation. He gave mankind the freedom to choose the names for the animals, and all the other decision in the created world. He also gave the human being freedom to choose God. He didn’t impose on the human being that He must submit to the will of God, because that would make God a dictator. God set up expectations for freedom, and at the same time, called the human being to some kind of responsibility. The human being could remain free of sin and suffering but he had to responsibly stay away from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Unfortunately, man misused his freedom to choose and chose to partake of the tree, thus causing the Fall of mankind away from God. That was not God’s choice, that was man’s choice. Now, wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Because true freedom is found in God. True freedom is found in obedience to the commandments of God. Because when we are “in sync” with God, then we feel truly free. When we are out of sync with God, then we don’t feel so free. I know that in times of crisis, when I’m not praying, then I’m out of sync with God and I feel trapped, even hopeless at times. But when I’m praying, when I am participating in the liturgy, when others are praying for me, I feel “protected” in a cocoon, like nothing can harm me. And this is when I feel the most free.
Ironically, one can be materially rich and still not feel free, while one can be materially poor, or even be imprisoned and still feel free. Because it is neither money that frees us, nor poverty that imprisons us. It is Christ and our faith in Him, that truly makes us free.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of freedom which you give equally to each person. Help us to know that true freedom comes only from You. In our triumphs, help us to be humble and give You the glory. And in our defeats, give us comfort that by placing our hope in You we cannot truly fail. Amen.
Have a “worry free” day!
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