I’d rather die free than live enslaved.
That’s all that came to my mind as I watched the movie Harriet yesterday afternoon. I had so many thoughts that came flooding through my heart as I sat in that theater but the greatest thought of all was this- I will not die enslaved.
If you are unfamiliar with the story, the movie is about Harriet Tubman, a former enslaved woman (born right here in Maryland) who not only escaped to freedom, but also made 13 subsequent visits to free a total of 70 enslaved people. She also served in the Civil War as a spy for the Union Army and lead 750 people to freedom. Her voyages and bravery earned her the name of Moses, like the biblical character, because she led her people to freedom.
I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.Harriet Tubman
Obviously I was not alive during the era of Harriet Tubman so I don’t know if Hollywood added to her story or if it was all real, but what captivated me the most about her story was the fainting spells that she experienced. During these spells Harriet would receive visions from God, foreshadowing- or prophesying- what was soon to come. Her visions allowed her to avoid danger and remain one step ahead of the slave masters and bounty hunters that were out to catch her. If this is indeed true (I’ll ask Harriet in glory), I wholly believe it… because God speaks to me similarly when I am sleeping. If I am being honest with myself, God has been speaking to me for many decades through my dreams but my fear has caused me to doubt Him and His message… but that is a story for another day. Today, however, all that I want to talk about is the aforementioned quote from Harriet herself.
Beloved, the first step towards freedom is realizing that you are enslaved.
I thank and praise our heavenly Father that we are no longer enduring indentured servitude. For far too long people justified this by misquoting scripture and claiming that it was the natural order of life for one race to serve another. BUT if you gonna quote scripture, make sure you quote the New Testament, too, where it says that Christ so that we all may be free. I digress. So while white people on plantations are no longer our masters that we serve without freedom, we do offer ourselves to many other forms of slavery- emotionally, physically, and mentally:
Our material items
Anything we put before our God we make it our god and serve it instead.
But when we realize that we are in bondage and giving our best to anyone but God, that is when we can finally be set free.
A few weeks ago I referenced this mural in church during the invitation. I mentioned it and said that like Harriet, I was extending my right hand to help lead others to freedom. I wanted to call all those who didn’t know Christ or have a church home into the welcoming arms of our Father who can save them and give them freedom. Funny thing is, I didn’t realize until yesterday that God was still waiting for me to accept that very same invitation.
I know God, yes, but I struggle with letting go and allowing Christ to lead me out of bondage. Yet as I sat in that movie theater, all I could think was, “I’d rather die free than live enslaved.”
Dear friend, there is so much freedom that comes from knowing, loving, and walking with Christ. We are free from worry, anxiety, disappointment, pain, etc. because when He died on the cross for our sins, He took the sting out of all of those things. Like Harriet, Christ is steadily extending His hand to us and pleading for us to grab hold and let Him lead us to the place that He has prepared for us. He sits on the right hand of His Father and He wants us there with Him. Jesus said in Luke 9:23 that if we want to follow Him, we must deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and walk with Him. We must die to our flesh; we must let go of what and how we think things must be and let God guide our hearts and lives. So when I say “die free” I mean that I am willing to die to my flesh, release the chains that Christ already broke for me, and be free… after all, John 8:36, right?
I cannot speak for you but I am accepting Christ’s outstretched arm and choosing to never again live enslaved but to instead die free.