Posts Tagged ‘freedom’

Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, “Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.” And Ezra said: “You are the Lord, you alone; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. To all of them you give life, and the host of heaven worships you. (Nehemiah 9:5-6, NRSV)

God created all and gave life to all.

We think that our life is something we can make for ourselves, but we actually don’t start to live until we realize that everything we have has been given to us by God, and in that, we are freed to give as God gave to us. And in that freedom and giving, you will find life beyond imagination.

So don’t confuse a living with a life!

161120When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. [Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”] And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:33-43, NRSV)

I always find the readings for Christ the King to be a little hard to take. I mean really what king dies to sit on a throne?

And what cross is seen as s throne?

But yet, that is really our King!

One who does things His own ways, ways that are not our ways, and thinks of things in completely different ways than we do.

We want a king who will lead us to victory! A king that will free us politically here and now.

We don’t want a model to follow. A plan for loving the world. A way to bring everything back into the love that God used to create the world. We want what we want.

A superman for a king, one that would not eve thinking of dying, one who will give us what we want.

But Christ the King, died on a cross to show us that God’s kingdom is not what we want and is completely other than anything we could conceptualize.

So follow Christ, and do what He left us as an example.

Love the world so much you would be willing to die for it!

161030Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:31-36, NRSV)

What does it mean to be free?

Or maybe a better question is are you really free?

You see the Jews answered Jesus, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”

Had they forgotten that they are descendants of those who made their way out of Eygpt after being set free from Pharaoh?

Did they not see the oppression of Rome all around them now?

We do not always see the things that hold us down.

We are not truly free unless we have a place in the home.

So what is it that enslaves us?

Money?

Power?

As I read this passage this time I thought about the movie Braveheart and the ending scene, you can see it below. William Wallace says “Freedom!” Becuase he is free from everything that has held him captive. He is letting go of everything and allowing life to happen.

How often do we allow ourselves to not live the life God has called us into? God did not give us a spirit of fear but has set us free to live the life He has placed in front of us.

So bravely go into the world and follow where He leads you.

And grasp the Freedom that God gives each of us.

160627For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Listen! I, Paul, am telling you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you. Once again I testify to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obliged to obey the entire law. You who want to be justified by the law have cut yourselves off from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love. You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth? Such persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough. I am confident about you in the Lord that you will not think otherwise. But whoever it is that is confusing you will pay the penalty. But my friends, why am I still being persecuted if I am still preaching circumcision? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves! For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:1-25, NRSV)

We as Christians are free from the bounds of the law, freed to live in the Spirit.

Circumcision doesn’t make us right with God. Christ has done that for us and freed us to live in the Spirit.

So show the fruit of the Spirit by loving the world as God first loved you!

What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:1-11, NRSV)

Should we continue to sin simply because God is giving us grace?

No. We shouldn’t sin simply because we know that God will forgive us. If we continue to live in sin when we know better we are making the grace God has given us cheap.

It is not about us getting our way. It is about us being set free to live the life that God has called us to. One that is over and above society and one that leads others to see the life that God has given them.

Let us live in the freedom we have been given to follow after Christ and go where He leads us!

Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him,saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. “Salt is good; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; they throw it away. Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” (Luke 14:25-35, NRSV)

Hate not your father or your mother or your brothers or sisters, then you can not come after me.

If you think of anyone or anything more than me, then you are not fit to follow me.

We think of the cross we must bear as a punishment.

We think thinking about Jesus above all else is not possible and so we are all doomed!

But with Christ all things are possible, and the cross we bear is a freedom into the life God has prepared for us.

So let go of all the things that hold you back from fully living in Him and take up the life He has for you and follow Him.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you. (Romans 8:1-11, NRSV)

Through the Spirit our chains are released and we are not held captive to our flesh.

We are freed in Christ to live a life that is not bound by our fleshly wants and desires.

The Spirit dwelling in us, gives us the power and hope of a life that shines a light in the dark places of this world.

So live into the freedom you have through the Spirit dwelling in you!