As our children were growing up, there were certain words we set apart for special usage in our household. We referred to those words as “Royal Words;” words that are intrinsically powerful but that, by misuse (or overuse), lose the strength of their meaning.
LOVE and HATE were two of those words. In essence, we neither loved or hated spinach; we instead liked or did not care for the green stuff. In our household we sought to love God and/or our neighbor; we hated what was evil.
It has been many years since I thought about our family list of royal words, but this week I added a new word to to the list: FREEDOM. It all began with something my Pastor said in his sermon last Sunday. He was talking about Job’s response when he received word that much of his wealth had been either taken or destroyed and then learned that his ten children were dead. Job’s response was both challenging and instructive:“At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” (Job:1:20-22)
My Pastor talked abou how Job’s response reminds us how truly naked we are apart from God’s provision for us. He went on to say that God’s grace is what frees us, that freedom is not a right. He underlined this by citing Galatians 4:4-7 where the Apostle Paul wrote:
“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are His sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are His child, God has made you also an heir.”
As I thought about it I realized that true freedom cannot be legislated; it is not about human rights. In fact, it is as we focus on our perceived rights that freedom becomes complicated. To uncomplicate freedom we must take ourselves out of the center and put God in His rightful place. When we do, it is amazing how simple true freedom becomes. Freedom cannot be determined by where one lives or by what one possesses. Jesus taught in John 8:31, 32,
“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Freedom in Christ is a rare and precious gift that cannot be taken away any more than His grace can be removed or shattered by our changing circumstances. Such freedom is more about surrendering and trusting in Him to free us from the bondage and misery of sin. The bottom line? If you know Christ, you are free indeed!
In my last post I reblogged a video that underlines what I am trying to say; it is a look at what we refer to as the persecuted church. I invite you to watch it and marvel at the uncomplicated freedom unveiled as Christ becomes the focus. Looking to uncomplicate your freedom? Uncomplicated Freedom counts up the cost of following Jesus and says He is worth it!
All to His Glory!
Christ’s freedom (in Jn. 8:31-32) was indeed about freedom from sin. He was talking to Jews who were listening to him, but also hearing complicated words (against Jesus) from their ruling fathers, the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus’ listeners thought he was talking about the freedom of their nation, and thus claimed they had always been free (Jn. 8:33). After Jesus said they were still slaves of sin, they began to raise objections to Jesus’ words, and ended up slandering him and plotting to kill him (8:37-59). Complicated indeed.
Thanks for the very astutely put reinforcement!