Monday, July 1, 2013

Choose to Live Free

This week’s segment for our SIMPLY YOU series is written by Liz Fleming. Liz is a doctor, a missionary, and a generous and lovely woman of God who serves the Kingdom in this present season in Haiti. You can follow Liz on her blog at
A couple of years ago I was having a theological discussion with some friends.  We were talking about a very specific doctrinal topic, and one of my friends made the comment that if he had to choose between freedom and obedience he would choose obedience.  I reflected on this a lot over the next few days, praying and searching the Scriptures.  It seems to me that we aren't supposed to make a choice between freedom and obedience – somehow we have to live in them both. 

After all, Jesus claimed that “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”[i]  Paul says that “It was for freedom that Christ has set us free,”[ii] and that we “were called to freedom”.[iii]  Peter urges us to “live as people who are free.”[iv]  Of course we are admonished not to use our freedom as an excuse to sin.  But if we are in Christ we have the Holy Spirit in us.  And “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”[v]

My sisters, when Jesus returns “the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”[vi]  All of creation will be free!  And we are to start living today as we will one day live in the fullness of the Kingdom of God – in glorious freedom!

Five meditations on freedom for your week

Day 1:  Free from sin and death
We were freed from our sins by the blood of Jesus.[vii]  In the battle for our minds, for our very selves, it is in our holding on to what is true that sets us free and breaks the chains of death.  God's Word says that we are free.  Therefore it is true.  Satan wants us to stay in the dark, to consider ourselves bound to our sins, to our past. 

It is not pious to continue to beat ourselves up over our sins, our past, our addictions.  It is falling into Satan's trap, considering ourselves “less than.”  Less than others, less than ideal, less than God wants.  The one who accuses is not God – the one who accuses is Satan.  It is God's kindness that leads us to repentance.[viii]

“For one who has died [through baptism in Christ Jesus] has been set free from sin.”[ix]  Declare out loud, “I have been set free from my sin.”  Now sing with me John Wesley's “And Can It Be (Amazing Love)”:

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Day 2:  Free from shame

In Christ we are freed from shame.  Knowing that we are accepted in the Beloved, we do not need to hide our past or worry about exposure.  After all, this is also the Gospel:  God, knowing everything we have ever done or thought, loves us and accepts us. 

Sit for a moment with the one who would free you from shame.  Let him “rejoice over you with gladness. . . quiet you by his love. . . exult over you with loud singing.”[x]  Read the story of a woman who approached Jesus, caring nothing for the opinion of others because she was focused on the One who loved her – Luke 7: 36 – 49.  Now go in peace.

Day 3:  Free from worry and fear

We know who holds the future.  That truth frees us from worry.  “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's pleasure to give you the kingdom.”[xi]  As we trust God to be present in all circumstances we are able to “laugh at the time to come.”[xii]

Sit today with the Good Shepherd, and let his perfect love cast out your fear.[xiii]  Spend a few minutes meditating on Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”  Now look ahead at your day and imagine what you will do, released from all worry and fear.

Day 4:  Free to laugh, rejoice, dance, worship!

Because of Jesus, I do not have to wait until I am perfect to come before God's throne in worship[xiv].  No sacrifices need to be made, no rituals performed.  I can sing God's praises at any time, anywhere, and in any crazy way (remember King David dancing nearly naked?[xv]). 

Spend a few moments praising God – with music, with your voice, in silence, as you like.  Sitting, standing, dancing, kneeling, lying prostrate – whatever strikes you at the moment.

Day 5:  Free to love, obey and serve

I serve only one master, and that is God.  And yet my relationship to others is as a servant, due to my love for them and my love for Jesus.  Serving God alone actually frees me to love the unlovely and to serve the unworthy.[xvi]

Jesus knew who he was and was free to act in unexpected ways -- free to be a servant, free to wash his disciples' feet.[xvii]  Our freedom should lead us to serve one another through love.[xviii]  Who will you serve today?  How will that look differently today as you serve in complete freedom and see Jesus in the one that you serve?

Final meditation
My sister, you are loved and you are free.  Rejoice in who you are and praise the One who made you!  Pray with me:  “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”[xix] Hallelujah!

[i]  John 8:36, [ii] Galatians 5:1, [iii] Galatians 5:13, [iv] 1 Peter 2:16, [v] 2 Corinthians 3:17, [vi] Romans 8:21, [vii] Rev 1:5, [viii] Romans 2:4, [ix] Romans 6:7, [x] Zephaniah 3:17, [xi] Luke 12:32
[xii] Proverbs 31:25, [xiii] 1 John 4:18, [xiv] Hebrews 4:16, [xv] 2 Samuel 6:14, [xvi] See Ephesians 6:5 - 6, [xvii] See John 13:3 and following, [xviii] Galatians 5:13, [xix] Revelation 1:5b - 6

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