Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Week Nineteen - Free


“…the truth shall make you free.”  John 8:32

Some of us live life like we were holding onto a fish.  We squeeze it so tightly that all the beauty and joy are gone.  We are so intent on controlling life that we enjoy very little.  We look around and become angry with those who are enjoying life or condemn them as frivolous and silly. We are constantly chasing an elusive and slippery dream. 

Fish are hard to catch with the bare hand and so is life.  If we are chasing life it will slip from our hands.  We will get very weary and rarely will we succeed.
Fish have protective fins, and if we don’t gently smooth these down as we take hold, they will prick us.  Life also demands that we handle it properly.  If we go at it roughshod we will get jabbed.  If we live contrary to decorum or common decency, we can expect to be pricked and injured.  If we try to live outside of God’s directives, we can expect hard times.
The best way to enjoy a fish is to let it go and enjoy the beauty.  Better to understand that the fish belongs in the water and that the best way to enjoy fish is with hands off, unless he is on your plate!
Life, too, is best enjoyed when lived in freedom.  We become wiser and happier when we realize we cannot control life and accept who we are, where we are and what comes along as gifts from a faithful loving Father.
The truth is that the harder we try to make life happen, the more that we seek to direct our own path, the more jabs we receive, and, the less beauty we behold. Live freely.  He has given us freely all things to enjoy! Trust your Father and swim the river of life in joy!

Are you a control-freak?  Are you unable to live freely?  Do you need to “let go and let God”?  The truth is – He came to give life and to give it more abundantly – that is a truth that will give freedom in life!


“…uphold me with thy free spirit.”  Psalm 51:12

The word “free” in this verse has the meaning of willing, voluntary, ready or prompt.  Barnes says that David’s prayer here means that he is asking God for a spirit within himself that would be always found willing and ready to keep the commandments of God, or, kept in a state of mind where he would be willing to do all that God requires.
The first half of this verse says, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation…” Psalm 51 is the Psalm written by David after Nathan the prophet had come to reveal David’s sin with Bathsheba.  David has repented and asked God’s forgiveness, he is asking for restoration.  David fully believes that God will and has forgiven him, but he knows the deep sorrow of repentance and has that further desire to experience once again the joy and fellowship that was before.
The request we are considering here goes beyond the initial forgiveness and restoration to the future.  David knows that without the help of the Spirit of God, he is liable to fall again.  So he asks for God’s help.  It is so beautiful to call it “free”.
God gives freely.  He is ready, willing and able to forgive and restore when we ask in faith.  But further, God’s free Spirit restores our joy and opens our hearts to understand just a bit more of the love of God as lightness of heart returns after the sorrow of sin.  The child of God longs to be upheld by this free, joyful spirit that comes directly through fellowship with his Father.

Is God’s freeness of Spirit upholding you?  If not, what sin is stifling his Spirit?


“As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.”  I Peter 2:16

“I am free in Christ, so I can do whatever I want and you are not to judge me,” says a Christian brother.  How do you answer him?  What part of this statement is true and what part is false?
Let’s take it into three parts.  “I am free in Christ.”  That part is so true.  However, you must qualify that word, “free”.  What are you free from?  The answer is free from sin – free to choose to sin no longer – free from the bondage and penalty of sin.
The second part says, “…so I can do whatever I want.” This is partly true and partly false. Truly, you can do what you want.  That is called free will. Paul dealt with this idea in many verses in the book of Romans.  The Romans also had the idea that since they were free in Christ that they could do anything they wanted, but Paul reminded them that if they had been made free from sin not free to sin!  They should, in Christ, have a change of life and not continue in the old patterns of life and attitude.

Later in I Corinthians 6:12 Paul instructed the Corinthians about this same attitude stating, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient, all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”  I love that part – “not brought under the power of any”.  That is true freedom.  No philosophy, no peer-pressure, no addiction, to stubbornness, no power except Christ should be my guide!
And the third part of the statement, “…you are not to judge me,” some would say is true, but I would disagree.  We are to be accountable not only to God for our lives, but also to each other.  Paul gives us the ultimate example in I Thessalonians 2:10 when he states, “Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe.”  Paul was not afraid of being judged because he lived his life accountably.  Free to be a servant of God with nothing to hide.  That is true freedom!

What about your attitude?  Are you living a life free from fear of judgment, or are you having to defend your choices?


“…that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” 
I Corinthians 2:12

The plea of Paul throughout the chapter is to confirm to the Corinthians that he is not speaking as from the voice or wisdom of man, but as from the voice and wisdom of God which has been revealed by God’s Spirit.  He is laying a foundation for what he has yet to say to the Corinthians.  We want to consider just this one phrase found in verse twelve -“…that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” 
God wants us to know what we have been given and to recognize that these gifts have been given freely.  We have not earned them and do not deserve them, but they are gifts by the gracious Spirit of God given to his children.
The initial central gift is the gift of salvation.  This is the free gift of eternal life for those who believe.  We cannot begin to exhaust this subject.  Even verse 9 of this chapter opens up so many possible avenues of discussion. “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 

He has given us of His Spirit.  Imagine…the Spirit of God truly lives within you.  He has given us His name.  We are the Children of God.  He has written our names in the Book of Life.  Eternal Security - bought for us by the blood of His Son alone.  A home in Heaven and the promise of his return are also given freely.

You try adding to this list the things you know from Scripture that are promised to you as God’s child.  Don’t stop with just two or three things, meditate and ask the Lord to show you what has been freely given to you. 

Now consider, if we lived as if we truly believed we owned all these spiritual treasures, how spiritually wealthy would we be?  God gives to us freely.  He wants us to enjoy what He has given.  Think about them.  Thank Him for them.


“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”  Galatians 5:1

My mother and I loved to play Monopoly.  She would nearly always win.  She used it to teach me to count money, to make wise decisions, and to understand consequences – to learn to be a good loser, and a good winner! 
When you play Monopoly, you have the option of mortgaging properties you already own in order to raise funds to purchase more property or pay fines as the case may be.  If the game goes well, you have an increase of income, repay the mortgage and come out in a stronger position.  However, it can all go pear-shaped.  You may incur more fines than anticipated or your income may not rise as you planned, so you are stuck with mortgaged properties and increasing debt.  Sounds like life, huh?
The wise player avoids staying in debt.  They make the effort to get out and stay out in order to stay in the game. The foolish player, who will no doubt get knocked out, does not learn the lesson.  He keeps mortgaging and taking chances even after he has paid them off the first time.
That’s sort of like sin.  We get rescued, but instead of staying away, we continue to play the game.  We have to have just a little more, or, we don’t think we will get caught.
Freedom is for those who stay free.  The Apostle encourages us to recognize that we should not go back to the sin that had us bound, but rather, we should live in the freeness of our new life.  There is no need to keep incurring old mortgages!

Are you keeping your life free from the entanglements of sin?  Are you allowing yourself to be strangled by some sort of debt?  Get free…and stay free!

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