Where Freedom Begins

life-belt-498453_1920This is from my first guest blogger, Christian Miller. We’ve served together on staff, and I have enjoyed getting to work with him. I love being able to see how God is developing the guys He has put in my life. – Brandon

I have had the opportunity to work for Brandon for the last year and a half.  In that time, we have had many discussions about ministry, but more importantly, we have processed life together.  One of our discussions has been the concept of what freedom in Christ looks like in our lives.  Celebrating the 4th of July is upon us, and I thought it would be appropriate to share some things that God has taught me about freedom in Christ.

For my oldest daughter, turning sixteen made last summer monumental for her and my parenting. She took the plunge, and started her first summer job as a lifeguard.  Seeking independence shaded many of our conversations, and she frequently felt the need to remind me that she was not a child anymore.

My heart was in a tug-o-war! Pride wrestled with fear. She earned a certification to do the job, yet the responsibility created a weight in my heart.  Even though she strutted around our home with a confidence in her new job, I also saw a chink in the teenage armor. The chink was her own fear.  She did something that, to this day, is still hard for me to believe.  She actually asked her mother and me to come to the pool where she was life guarding, and to bring her little sisters as well.  You have to understand that, in a normal situation, she would rather I drop her off a block away from any public venue rather than being seen walking in with her family.  So, what prompted her to want us there at the pool that day?

Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  Paul was writing to those in the early Church who were continuing to revert back to the old laws of Moses, customs that had been passed down through multiple generations.  I think we often view the freedom that Christ offers in the same way.  We love the idea of the freedom that Christ gives us, but we don’t truly know how to live in it.  The interesting part of this verse for me is the phrase “stand firm.”  The Greek word steko means “to stand firm…persevere…to hold one’s ground.”  How can you “hold your ground” today to demonstrate freedom?

Maybe you find yourself wrestling with yokes of slavery that are holding you back from living in true freedom.  You may not realize what it is, or that you are even being hindered from living freely.  Today’s culture is all about living anyway you want. According to culture, this is true freedom. Look at this list, though. Does this sound like freedom?

  • Thinking you have to have it all together
  • Thinking that everybody has to like you
  • Thinking you have to know every detail of God’s will for your life before you step out in faith
  • Thinking that you are too messed up to be used by God
  • Thinking you have to “do” church a certain way – (Btw, we are supposed to be the Church, not do church)
  • Thinking that Jesus does not love you just like you are

I love this quote from Oswald Chambers:  “If you yourself do not cut the lines that tie you to the dock, God will have to use a storm to sever them and to send you out to sea. Put everything in your life afloat upon God, going out to sea on the great swelling tide of His purpose, and your eyes will be opened.”  This is so powerful.  Put everything in your life afloat upon God…  That is total dependence and trust.  In our flesh, it can be one of the most difficult things we have ever done, but that is where freedom begins.

For my daughter, having her family there at the pool that day was comfortable for her. It was safe. It was familiar.  She experienced for the first time in her adolescence that there is unpredictability in freedom.  There is uncertainty in freedom.  There is self-doubt in freedom.  But, that is exactly where Christ wanted her to be. He wants you there, too.

Go on, cut the lines.

 

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