True Freedom in Christ

I have several friends who live and worship in Africa.  I'm not talking about white missionaries who have gone over to build churches, but native Africans who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and who belong to God-honoring, Christ-exalting, Holy Spirit empowered churches.

I miss you all.  I pray for you often.  And I miss experiencing Church with you.

I have been guiding a group from our church through a study of the book of Revelation, and at the same time, preaching through the Sermon on the Mount on Sunday mornings.  Concurrent to this, I am also counseling individuals in jail, and in mainstream society.

The combination of these three things lately, have made me acutely aware of the lack of freedom that many of us as Christians are experiencing in many areas of life. Myself included.  Jesus said that He came that we may have life, and to have it abundantly (John 10:10).  He also said that if He sets us free, we will be free indeed (John 8:36).  So why are so many of us not experiencing freedom in our spiritual lives, our social lives, our emotional lives, our intellectual lives, our physical lives, our financial lives, and our vocational lives?

I am reminded of many of my friends who live in much different situations in life, with much less opportunity and resource than myself, and yet have what I have so often lacked, and longed for.  You may have heard a pat Christian answer before; however, while I do believe it is simple, I do not believe the answer to the question, "Why am I not experiencing real Freedom in Christ?", is quick or "pat".

With this post, I am beginning a series on True Freedom in Christ.  I believe Jesus and the Apostles saw the reality of this situation in their day as well as knowing it would continue to happen in future days to come.  Notice Jesus did not say, I came to give you life and in abundance.  He stated that because He came, we may have it!  It is ours to receive if we choose, but we are responsible - as has always been the truth with God's People - for making choices that will embrace God's best design for our lives.

If we are honest, we will admit we do not always make choices which embrace God's best. Often, we make choices knowing full well it is not God's best provision.  And again, we often make choices betting on, rather than waiting on, God's direction and provision.  One of my favorite leaders, when speaking about money, calls this kind of behavior, living on "ifcome rather than income."  Spiritually speaking, I would apply the same idea and call our behavior at such times "ifdependence rather than independence from slavery to sin."

Here's the big picture:  Jesus came so that we may have freedom from sin.  That includes defeat, fear, anger, depression, guilt, shame, addiction, debt, ignorance, lust, control, illness, etc.  That's doesn't mean I am promised wealth, it means I am promised to be free from debt.  It doesn't state I will never be sick or infirm, I states I will not be a slave to the circumstances that wants to imprison me in.  It doesn't say, I will never lust, anger, or be tempted.  In fact, scripture promises that persecution and temptation will come, but we have the option to embrace His provision for freedom - if only we could see what it is.  As a child of God, I can see what it is, if I am looking.  I look forward to this study of God's Word over the next few weeks, and I hope it will be a blessing to you as well.  Let's grow together and learn to experience true Freedom in every area of the life abundant available to us.

God Bless,

With you for His glory,