Monday, November 11, 2013

True Freedom

One of Deborah's writings from the past ...

"More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith." (Philippians 3:8-9)

I remember my grandchildren lying on their backs looking up to the sky. They yelled and pointed at the clouds taking on different shapes, floating freely across the sky.  You could see the wind shape and move the clouds. The children laughed, calling out, "A puppy!" "A snow man!" A fish or bird or angel.

Do you ever say, "I just want to be free"?  We take on the shape of our beliefs in God, our new heart, and receiving God's love. We are even influenced by our environment and past. But we are not left to that end.

I have thought my freedom would come by being perfect. I longed for peace. Sounds like a good thing, doesn't it?  The Spirit has shown me the dangers in this over the years.   Trying to keep the peace at all cost determined what I said and what I did. I sought things to bring me peace and appear perfect.  I hid and denied my failures.  I pleased men over God.  I lived in fear and would not speak truth. It was most deceptive.  I now see that the only true peace, perfection, and freedom, is in Christ Himself.

Ephesians talks about who we are in Christ.  We are new men and women.  We are brought near to God by the blood of Christ. His Spirit lives in us, and we live in relationship with the Father, Son, and Spirit.

Our freedom was bought for us at the cross.  Christ bought us out of darkness to light. We are forgiven. We have Christ's righteousness. His perfect record and life is ours.  We are co-heirs with Christ. We have an inheritance from God. We have eternal life.  There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. God is no longer angry with us.  His wrath on sin that was due to us was taken out on His Son on the cross. He was the perfect sacrifice.  We can serve the Living God with a clear conscience. Christ satisfied our holy God's demand for righteousness. So now we can enter the throne of grace in freedom and confidence.  We are children of the King! We are seated with Him in the heavenlies. We are totally free.

When Paul explained this freedom, men questioned: "So does that mean we are free to sin?" Paul says, "Heaven forbid. You understand nothing."  In the Greek it says, "May it never be." (See Romans 6:15)

When this freedom and love of the gospel takes hold of our hearts, it changes us from the inside out.  We begin to live in the freedom of who we truly are.  We take on new beauty. New love.  New hope.  New life.   New joy.  New Peace. Our striving to be something we are not is over.  We are honest about our sin, but our focus is on Christ.  Our relationship with God, and the truth of the gospel sustains us. It is His righteousness not ours.  Nothing we do can commend us to God. Freedom is in the struggle against sin.  Then finding rest is in Him, you finally come to the conclusion that no matter what happens in your life, "God is good."   This brings a new obedience from the heart that you had never thought possible. An incredible longing for God to fill your whole heart.

Thank you Lord for setting our hearts free in you. May all glory and honor and praise be to You.