By St. Nikolai Velimirovich
"For the slave called in the Lord is a freed person in the Lord, just as the free person who has been called is a slave of Christ" (I Corinthians 7:22).
The great news that Christianity daily announces to the world is that nothing is evaluated at full value according to its external appearance but by its essence. Do not evaluate things according to its color and shape but by its meaning. Do not evaluate a man by his position and property but by his heart - by his heart in which are united his feeling, his reason and his will.
According to this, for the world always a new teaching, he is not a slave who is outwardly enslaved; neither is he free who possesses outward physical freedom.
According to secular understanding, the slave is one who enjoys the world the least and a free man is one who enjoys the world the most. According to Christian understanding, a slave is one who least enjoys from the living and sweet Christ and the free man is one who enjoys most from the living and sweet Christ.
Further, according to secular understanding, the slave is one who carries out his own will less frequently and who carries out the will of others more frequently, and a free man is one who carries out his will more often and even less often the will of others. However, according to Christian understanding, the slave is one who carries out his will more often and even less often the will of God, and the free man is one who carries out the will of God more frequently and who carries out even less frequently, his own will.
To be a slave to the Lord is the only true and worthy freedom of man and, to be a slave to the world and to one's self, sin and vice is the only fatal slavery.
Of the kings on the throne, a man would think: Are there any more free men on earth than those? However, many kings were the most base and the most unworthy slaves of the earth.
Of shackled Christians in the dungeons, a man would think: Are there any more miserable slaves on earth than they? However, the Christian martyrs in the prisons felt as free men and were filled with spiritual joy; they chanted Psalms and raised up prayers of gratitude to God.
Freedom which is tied to grief and sorrow is not freedom but slavery. Only freedom in Christ is tied with unspeakable joy. Lasting joy is the mark of true freedom.
O Lord Jesus, the only Good Lord, Who grants us freedom when You tie us stronger to Yourself, make us Your slaves as soon as possible that we would cease to be slaves of cruel and unmerciful masters. To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.