What is Freedom?

Exodus exists to support men like you in becoming uncommonly free.

Each one of us has pharaohs we serve and idols we worship, which stand in our way and keep us from becoming who we are.

But, as St. Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians, “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

We all come to Exodus with specific attachments and influences that hold us back from freedom. It helps us to overcome them by stating a clear intention for making this journey. We call this intention our “Why,” a particular statement that motivates us to keep going, especially as the journey becomes more challenging.

Think about the way in which you are unfree. And consider who will benefit from greater freedom in your life. Your Exodus has the potential to transform your life for your good and for others. Love offers us the most profound force of commitment, reminding us why we are making this Exodus. It also helps to write down your why to keep it in mind throughout the ninety days, and it’s important to update your why as you continue your formation afterwards.

A Christian vision of freedom is very different from that of the world. It’s not about doing whatever we want, whenever we want, with whomever we want. No, Christian freedom is for love. A free man takes up his life, and he lays it down for those he loves, as Jesus shows us on the Cross. A free man is a man for others.

For single men, that means preparing intentionally for your vocation to fatherhood and serving the needs of your local community well.

For married men, that means becoming a better husband and father.

Through these ninety days of spiritual exercise, you will become more of who you are, a son of God who has been called forth by the Father to experience his love and to give that love to others.

God made us to be free. He didn’t create us like the animals that simply act upon instinct and can never lift themselves beyond immediate impulses and feelings. He made us in his image and into his likeness so that we can know him as a Father and can love as he does, giving of ourselves for the life of others. Our free will enables us to deliberate and choose on our own initiative what we recognize to be good. It is an invitation, calling us to see the truth and to act upon it with love. Freedom is ordered toward communion, requiring a free and mature possession of self so that we can offer it to others and receive their love in return.
And yet, we are held back by so many obstacles, impeded and even controlled by outside influences. Enslaved in Egypt, Israel was overburdened with work and lost sight of God’s loving care. We experience slavery in being bogged down by attachments, out-of-control desires, wounds, fear, and all the difficulties of life. We cannot do what we want and, even more so, what we should do. We can find ourselves like the Israelites groaning for real freedom. Too often, however, we view freedom to do whatever we want rather than a precious gift to be cherished and preserved.
Freedom is a gift that can become a burden. We must learn how to shape and order it toward what is truly good. If we become trapped within ourselves, living according to our own thoughts and desires, we miss the goal of freedom. Ultimately, God is the one who helps us to understand the meaning of this gift and who teaches us how to use it correctly. Jesus modeled true freedom in his relationship with the Father and the complete gift of himself on the Cross. Jesus came down from heaven to teach us the true meaning of freedom and how to preserve it. His Incarnation is a rescue mission, coming down and “taking the form of a slave” so that we could share in the freedom of his divine Sonship (see Philippians 2:7). Jesus enables us to choose the things that lead to life, letting go of what holds us in bondage to the world, and to experience the peace that comes from self-emptying love.
In daily prayer, we attune ourselves to Jesus and through him to the Father. Through the grace of this prayer, we grow in virtue and the courage we need to keep our passions in check. Freedom needs discipline to stay on course and regular asceticism prunes back the obstacles that constantly crop up that impede us. We also need the support of others. Only a false freedom thinks that we can live autonomously and achieve the good on our own. We are made for communion and depend upon others to live a life of true freedom. As Christian men, we need fraternity to stay on the right path. In freedom, we can receive the gift of others and respond to it in charity.
The modern world is obsessed with freedom but every day we see the destructive effects of a false and distorted freedom. We do not have to recreate our identity and dissipate our energy into amusing and pleasing ourselves. It is only in a gift of self that we will come to true happiness. This is how Jesus teaches us to be free, not to hold back, and to give of ourselves for the important things. God wants us to be free so that we can lead others to freedom, defending our family and friends from the slavery of the world and sin. Ultimately our freedom is for more than just ourselves. In choosing the good of others and sacrificing ourselves for them, we become free just as God is free, in the goodness of love.

More on Freedom:

man praying in a church

Try, Fail, Surrender

The basic dynamic of growth in the spiritual life comes through the three-step process we can summarize as Try-Fail-Surrender. This might seem surprising. For men it certainly sounds undesirable (feeling weak is the primary source of shame for men). All the same, we can find it well attested in the Catholic Christian spiritual tradition. Read more

man in a cold shower

Living Beyond Neutral Mode

My first Exodus was with a small, local men’s group. At that point, we’d been meeting for prayer and study for a few years. Still, I felt the need for more of a challenge — precisely one that would help me make tangible progress in areas we all continually expressed frustration with (married life, family prayer, and self-discipline). Read more

four men with exodus 90 t shirts

When Matt Fradd did Exodus 90

I’ve been a Christian since I was 17. I first heard about Exodus 90 when I was 33 and then did it with a group of friends. I first heard about Exodus way back in the day, and it was just this thing on the peripheries. Read more

What is Prayer?

Here’s what to expect during the 90 days.

What is Asceticism?

And what it looks like during Exodus 90.

What is fraternity?

Why does it matter for Exodus 90?

What is freedom?

It’s more than hot dogs and fireworks.

Find a Nearby Community to Join

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The first 14 days of the Exodus app are free. On Day 15, you can join Exodus+ for $90 / year or Exodus Basic for $10 / month. 

Men save $300 on average by joining Exodus membership. Scan here to download now:

Men save $300 on average by joining Exodus membership.

The first 14 days of the Exodus app are free. On Day 15, you can join Exodus+ for $90 / year or Exodus Basic for $10 / month.

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