Thursday, August 14, 2014

On Peace, Contentment, and Living Free In Jesus


"For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 2 Corinthians 3:17


God's love brings freedom. We are free to walk the path God has for us; not chained to any of the worlds thinking or idols. It is a form of slavery to exclusively pursue our own interests, money, desires, dreams, 'keeping up with the Jones', or to pursue something because it is simply the norm of society.  We become locked into the system of 'service to self', which leads us to neglect loving and caring for others as God requires us. The enemy desires to ensnare us in his yoke of slavery. We must be diligent and know the love of Christ and His freedom to avoid the enemies deceitful ways.

"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Galations 5:1

The world's freedom is to pursue one's own interests, be comfortable in our lifestyle and have enough money. "If you get a good education, you will have freedom." "If you just plan enough, set enough goals, you will have freedom." "If you can reach the top in your career, you will have really made it!" While pursuing these things and accomplishing them can bring worthwhile benefits, God's true freedom is to love and serve, to trust Him, and to do His will. In pursuing and living in God's freedom, we find who we truly were made to be by our Creator. All of the other accomplishments are temporary, they don't free the heart. Those things still bind us to the world, instead of being slaves to God's way, righteousness.

"And, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness." Romans 6:18

 After doing many things deemed worthwhile and good, most people are no more free in their hearts than when they began them. Many times, we sink deeper into thought processes and values that ensnare the heart and mind. There is no true freedom for the heart and soul apart from the One who made us. He knows what we were made to be and in surrendering to Christ we find ourselves. We find peace because we are free from ourselves; we do the Father's will and we are no longer bound to serve two masters.

"For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." Galations 5:13 

We live truly free when we know Jesus' peace and contentment, when we rest in Him and are free to walk with Him, abide with Him, and have a heart that freely listens and obeys. He walks ahead, guiding us on the path; we follow and our heart is freed. Christ's true freedom is the freedom to love and serve without our own ego getting in the way. As we love and serve, we come closer to the heart of Jesus.

"The paradox of faith is that when we conform our lives to Christ then we gain our true freedom. And its fruit is profound and lasting happiness." -Vincent Nichols
  "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:36

Don't be fooled by all the books, shows, and other sources telling us what it takes to live 'free'. True freedom for the heart, soul and mind, freedom for our earthly lives and eternal souls is only found in the One who laid Himself down for us, Jesus. He sacrificed His life so we may get a foretaste of the freedom that will come to it's full glory in Heaven. Let us seek after this, praying for God to reveal the areas of our hearts still in chains so that we may walk in freedom.

"Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God." 1 Peter 2:16 

There is no scripture passage that ever describes pursuing our own dreams and desires as the end goal for this life. Most of us are taught from a young age that those are to be pursued, yet not taught to prayerfully ask God what He has for our lives. God certainly gives us dreams, He plants them in our hearts, and those are the ones to be prayed over and pursued. They are the ones that further His kingdom and give Him glory. All areas of our lives, finances, hobbies, career, families, and relationships, these are all designed by God to glorify and honor Him. When we make it a priority to honor God in these things, it is His love and grace that shows us His true freedom.

Seeking first God and His righteousness, pursuing Jesus, these bring true freedom. The world offers false freedom, when the veil is torn off it is revealed to be lies. Jesus offers the only true and lasting freedom that exists, and the only freedom that will never die.

"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Matthew 6:33

Prayer: "Lord, open my eyes to your real, lasting freedom. Reveal the things I am doing, taking part in, or accepting that are not your true freedom. Free my heart and mind from bondage, to breath the fresh air of truth that you offer. Open my mind, my heart, my thought life to the things that are holy and righteous. I want to live in your freedom, give me the will to be steadfast and allow you to break the chains in my life. Amen."

"Pervading nationalism imposes its dominion on man today in many different forms and with an aggressiveness that spares no one. The challenge that is already with us is the temptation to accept as true freedom what in reality is only a new form of slavery." -Pope John Paul II

"But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life." Romans 6:22  

"How often I have found that we grow to maturity not by doing what we like, but by doing what we should. How true it is that not every 'should' is a compulsion, and not every 'like' is a high morality and true freedom." -Karl Rahner

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