I was a huge history buff in high school. I took a history class every year that ranged from the ancients to today's 21st century, and that love has transitioned to college where I recently studied history from 1450 onwards. This interest of mine piqued several times throughout this short time in my life, but no more than when we took in-depth glances atAmericaand its structure. Within this framework lied a stunning question raised by historians everywhere, along with everyday Americans, both your average Joe and Mr. Everything alike: isAmericareally free?
Now you may be questioning why I bring up America, freedom and my interest in history, so let me turn around and pose this question to you: how often do we question whether or not we are "really free" in Christ? When it comes down to those undying moments of shame and guilt, do we really experience freedom, or is it just something we sing about on a Sunday, in our Sunday "best," amidst a bunch of masquerading smiles? I think some of you reading this are quick to shout out that freedom is possible, but you're limping along life wondering how you can live in freedom? Hopefully, in these next few paragraphs, you'll begin to see the hope that is true freedom, and how you can obtain it and live it, along with the wonderful fruit it bears.
When preparing this blog, I quickly entered into my search bar "freedom," hoping that Merriam-Webster would provide a solid foundation, but alas it didn't begin to echo the freedom that we all are here seeking, so instead I turned to the Dictionary of Bible Themes and found a spark - one that can ignite our topic today:
"The state of liberty that results from not being oppressed or in bondage. Scripture stresses that human beings lack freedom on account of sin, but that faith in Jesus Christ brings freedom from the power of sin and the law."
So when contemplating our "How to" series, specifically "how do I live in freedom?", I focused in on this definition, and that's where I decided to begin. "Scripture stresses that human begins lack freedom on account of sin." You've probably heard others stress that "empty void" deep down in our hearts. If you really do sit on that thought for a minute or two, you'd likely accept that there is a void when it comes to freedom. We're haunted by our past and unable to quite get over the hump. Why? Because sin blocks us from freedom. However, "faith in Jesus Christ brings freedom from the power of sin and the law." So, how do I experience freedom? Firstly, turn to Christ, because apart from him we are unable to experience the freedom we so dearly long for, because Jesus is the freedom we so dearly long for.
"So Jesus is our path to freedom? Great, sounds fantastic, but I've been a 'believer' for years." I can't tell you how many times I've heard that, and how many times that's been me. It's an issue, but one not without answer. Oftentimes we don't experience or live in the freedom we so long for because we aren't falling in love with the One who is, and provides, this gift. For all you manly men out there, I'll reword this. Oftentimes we don't experience or live in the freedom we so long for because we are apathetic - lazy - expecting this gift to just be given to us like another birthday party. In reality, we must strive to love Jesus through relationship. Yes, get to know Him and what He's all about. 2 Peter 1:2 exclaims, "May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord." This isn't simply head knowledge you gain from Sunday school and Christian YouTube videos, but heart knowledge. For example, you can have knowledge about your wife; her favorite dessert; her biggest fear; but that stands ill in comparison to the knowledge that comes from love; understanding just who she is and what is the blueprint God laid out for her. The same goes for Jesus. When we are striving to know Him, we can better see just who He is, and that is freedom.
However, some of you stand at the other end of the spectrum. You believe that there's freedom wholeheartedly and that everything you may have done will just go away by proclaiming Christ. Well, let me rock your theology and scream, "sorry, sucker, not happening." Freedom isn't the absence of justice and consequence, but the breaking away from oppression that attempts to tie us down as a result of our sinfulness. To experience freedom, you must embrace justice and consequence; and yeah, sometimes it sucks, but when you're at a truths with this facet, you're already on terms with knowing who Jesus is, and not believing in some false ideology that will leave you even more in bondage each time you fail.
And lastly, experience Christ as who He is, a father...the Father. A father wants what's best for his child, and will never leave them despite their failures, issues or addictions. Each time you fall, a father is there to pick you back up and encourage you, whether you're listening or not. In the same way, Jesus is picking you back up and encouraging you every time you fall, whether you're listening, or even noticing, at all. But once you're on par with Jesus, you'll begin to see this - this thing we call love, and that love provides freedom. It may begin as a trickle - just enough to get you to tomorrow - but if you continue on the path Jesus has laid out for you, the trickle will become a waterfall, and you'll be at peace in fulfilling freedom.
Rapping this up, I'm sure there's many of you who come to xxxchurch, well, not for the church, but to find out "how do I get out?" As someone who's struggled, who struggles and will struggle, I can promise you that apart from Jesus and His grace, you will not find the freedom you're searching for. You'll always be left with disparity and an ever growing hurt. So I pray that you, me and everyone else reading this will turn to the One who made freedom possible. May you find the peace that was intended for you, and made possible, nearly two-thousand years ago.