Walk in Freedom

The following is a guest post by Luke Larson


“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free, stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened by a yoke of slavery.”
Galatians 5:1

If you were to describe your relationship with God, how would you describe it? Does it read the same as a relationship with a friend who you’ve fallen out of touch with? Or maybe even someone you have wronged and not yet sought forgiveness? Is it something on the back of your mind like a task that you know you should ‘get to when you have some time’ when you really just want to avoid it because it seems like too much to sort out?

This kind of thinking defined my relationship with God for many years. We all know the ways that we sin; we may be quite good at covering them up (although probably not as good as we think), but WE know the things we’ve done wrong. In our minds, these things create a mental rats-nest that becomes a barrier between us and God that only seems to get bigger over time. And as time goes on, it becomes far too overwhelming to sort out. So we go on with life, separated from God, living in a dull but constant guilt knowing that the barrier was built by OUR sin and one day we’ll have to answer for it. 

Here is the amazing truth of the Gospel: You don’t have to sort it out. You can turn to God from wherever you are and walk in freedom and righteousness today. Just imagine not having to carry the burden of your sin. No more hiding parts of yourself or trying to keep up appearances while you are dying inside. 

It sounds too good to be true, because social and civil expectations dictate that we pay for our mistakes. But don’t take my word for it, let’s look at what God’s word says about how He handles our sin.

“But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God IS love.”
1 John 4:8, emphasis added

“[…Love] keeps no record of wrong..”
1 Corinthians 13:5

“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.’”
Matthew 11:28

“For God so loved the world, that He gave his one and only son. That whoever BELIEVES in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” 
John 3:16, emphasis added

“But if we CONFESS our sins to him, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all wickedness.”
1 John 1:9, emphasis added

It is so clear that God is willing to forgive our sins. Most of us have heard this before but still, we tend to believe that forgiveness isn’t enough by itself. We still don’t know how to walk in freedom and righteousness. We know we can’t be perfect, even the Bible says we can’t. So once again, we feel stuck in a cycle of sin, guilt and shame.

Here is what God says about what to do next. 

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Galatians 5:13-14

“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the spirit wants. And the spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires…” 
Galatians 5:16-17

Walk in freedom! Don’t spend all of your energy trying to be perfect, just go out into your daily life loving others and following the Holy Spirit’s lead.

And whenever you fail, as we all do, look up. Our instructions are simple. Bring your sin before the Lord, accept His forgiveness and move on.

We don’t have to sort it all out, we don’t have to correct our own ledger, and we don’t have to live in guilt.

Believe Christ is who He says He is.

Confess your sins to Him.

Love those around you and seek the Holy Spirit.

If you are doing these things, don’t let the enemy pull you back down into guilt and shame. 

And here is the most important part of all of this:

Take God at His word and TRUST that you are righteous in His sight. 

Christ died to make this way for you, don’t waste that gift by doing the process and not trusting Him with the result. You are a child of the most high God and He loves you with everything in Him. Try this now. Don’t put it off for another moment.

Do you believe that Christ is who He says He is? 

Now confess your sins to Him, whatever they are. He can handle it. Are you angry with Him? He can handle that too.

This is the path to freedom and righteousness. This is the way that Christ made for us. He says that you are clean (1 Corinthians 6:11), a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), righteous before God and free from the bondage of sin (Romans 6:7,18)

So here is the question:

Do you believe Him?

To Serve

I was praying about a lot of things while I was drifting off to sleep last night. Heavy things, light things, confusing things. All matter of things. And during my rambling prayers, the following thought popped into my head:

I didn’t come to be served, but to serve.

I believe the Holy Spirit was reminding me of Matthew 20:28, which says,

For even the Son of Man came not to be served
but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.

God didn’t come to Earth to be served. Isn’t that incredible? He came to serve us. The King James Version uses the word “ministered”. He came not to be ministered to, but to minister to us.

Who else is like this? To not seek self in every little thing, but to put others first…even if you’re the one who deserves to be first.

What other God is like this?

In a powerful coupling, John 3:17 says,

God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

I feel like I’m getting to know Jesus on a whole new level lately. He came to earth to become like us, to experience our world with its hurts and pains. But he didn’t come to judge us on how we would handle the pain. And he didn’t come to be doted on.

He came to serve us, minister to us, and redeem us.

Personal, present needs.

Luke prays for us every morning before work. It was a habit that was forced into practice by our mentors when we were going through a rough patch in our marriage a couple years ago. It was hard to start, but it’s become a part of our morning routine that we both continue to show up for.

This morning, after praying for my day, Luke asked Jesus to help him and his coworkers with a difficult project. I was immediately inspired, and followed up with praying for focus and organization for my projects as well.

It was actually a really powerful time of prayer for me, despite the fact that it was all of about five minutes. I realized that I spend a lot of my time praying for the big picture stuff, like health and provision and God’s will to be done. But I don’t spend time in the details. But the details is where I need him most.

Earlier this week I read the following passage in the gospel of John, chapter 2:

The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.”

“Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled, he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions.

When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. 10 “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!”

11 This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

When I read this passage, what stuck out to me was that Jesus didn’t have to turn this water into wine, and he expressed as much to his mom. But he did it anyway. In my study bible, it mentioned that weddings during this time were week long celebrations, and for them to run out of wine would be a huge embarrassment. So in essence, this was a culture problem. A personal issue. Not a problem of biblical proportions. But do you see what Jesus did? He turned the water into wine. The best wine. He may have saved the entire celebration!

This was the first time he revealed his glory, and it was personal. It was a present need. I love that.

I’m very inspired this morning to bring my personal, present needs to Jesus.

Resources:
New Living Translation Bible
NLT Life Application Study Bible