1. We humans are enslaved beings.

"Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains. One man thinks himself the master of others, but remains more of a slave than they are." Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

2. We humans enslave one another (by our demands, expectations, power).

"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed." Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves." Abraham Lincoln.

3. Freedom involves making a choice/decision.

"Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought. Let us have faith that right makes might and in that faith let us; to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it." Abraham Lincoln.

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Voltaire.

"The unity of freedom has never relied on uniformity of opinion." John F. Kennedy.

{ unencumbered } "...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" (Heb 12:1).

4. The way to freedom.

{ soaring, flying } "...those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles..." (Isa 40:31, NIV). ["wait for" (ESV, NASB); "trust" (HCSB, NLT)]

{ set free } "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (Jn 8:31-32). ["abide" (ESV), "continue" (NASB, HCSB), "remain faithful" (NLT)]

{ you must be freed } "Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free" (Jn 8:36, HCSB). "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (2 Cor 3:17). "So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law" (Gal 5:1, NLT).

{ greatest, most useful lesson } "If you want to learn something that will really help you, learn to see yourself as God sees you and not as you see yourself in the distorted mirror of your own self-importance. This is the greatest and most useful lesson we can learn: to know ourselves for what we truly are, to admit freely our weaknesses and failings, and to hold a humble opinion of ourselves because of them." Thomas Kempis.

{ embrace suffering as inevitable } "Plan as you like and arrange everything as best you can, yet you will always encounter some suffering whether you want to or not. Go wherever you will, you will always find the cross… God wants you to learn to endure troubles without comfort, to submit yourself totally to him, and to become more humble through adversity." Thomas Kempis.

"Great tranquility (freedom) of heart is his who cares for neither praise nor blame." "Grant me prudently (freedom) to avoid him that flatters me, and to endure patiently him that contradicts me." Thomas Kempis.

No one can be happy without freedom. Unhappiness comes from enslavement.