Tethered Freedom

Pastor Daron CrossLife Blog

One man tells of flying a kite with his son in southern Florida during some windy weather. “The wind was strong, and the kite grew smaller and smaller as it tugged against the string. The harder it blew, the higher it rose. Then there was a sickening snap! The string had broken. The kite was free, but it was no longer soaring higher. It was tumbling, falling crazily to dash itself against the ground or become tangled in the trees. What kept the kite airborne was the restraint of the string. When that was lost, the kite was unable to fly. We are never freed until we are restrained by something that pulls us higher and higher. It is not the absence of restraints that makes us free.”*

It is easy to think of freedom as being unbound. Set loose from parents’ rules. Let out of school for the summer. Released from restrictive laws. But think again. If we’re not bound—relationally, legally, spiritually—then we’re on our own. And on our own we will find a way to tumble and fall down to the ground like an untethered kite. 

With the apostle Paul we say, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Philippians 3:12). The call of our God that brings us to faith and gives us unlimited life through the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus holds us. And frees us.

We are free to soar above mediocrity when we hold on to the gifts God has given us. We are able to soar above sinful habits when we hold on to the Spirit’s power in us through baptism and the Word.

That gives a new meaning to being tied “up.” 

PRAYER: Hold me forever, Lord. Help me to hold on tight so that my freedom is a gift and not a curse. When there is tension or struggle in my life, remind me that freedom needs that to soar. When I want to let go, don’t just help me hang onto you, but hang onto me. Amen.

FURTHER MEDITATION: Take 5 minutes, sit quietly, and visualize a kite being let out on a string. It’s windy. The kite flaps in resistance as it ascends higher into the sky. The wind is pushing harder on the kite as it rises. It soars triumphantly in the sky. This is freedom. As you connect to Jesus and experience resistance, it may seem scary. But you need it in order to soar. Hold onto him as he holds onto you.

* J. Walter Cross, Bradenton, Florida, 23 January 1994, quoted in www.homiletics.online