We all long for freedom. But how do we get it?
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
- John 8:36
IF Jesus has set me free,
THEN >>> I am free indeed.
Unhindered by shame.
Accepted by my Daddy.
IF Jesus has set me free,
WHY THEN >>> do I live in shackles?
Paralyzed by fear.
Captivated by lies.
Burdened by other’s perceptions.
Guilty before my Father.
When I live without freedom, it’s because I’m not grasping the truth about myself.
That first list, that is what’s true of me. It’s who I really am. But, my default position is false. The ruts in my synapses and my first waking thoughts jump to lies, always and every day. I don’t start my day believing truth. I just don’t. I always start first with the lies, the ways I don’t measure up, the list I must achieve to be acceptable today. I know this is who I am, a person caught up in lies. So, (most days) I hit the ground running to Jesus. He's the only One who can rewire my thinking and remind me of the true truth about myself and about him.
The Bible has a lot to say about a lot of things, including ourselves. But, the most pivotal truth we can understand is our freedom in Christ —how do we get it, and how do we live in it? The application of this knowledge is TANTAMOUNT for our salvation and for each and every day following. First, we must be set free. Then, we must learn to walk in the freedom we’ve been given.
We must be set free.
We are all held captive by sin (i.e. our mistakes, screw-ups, inconsistencies… you know, those things you think, say, and do that you’re embarrassed for people to know about). Sin is tricky though, it doesn’t look ugly from the start. In fact, it entices us. It sings a beautiful Siren song, all the while holding a dagger behind its back. And once it has us, it’s a cruel master. We struggle to break free, but when we do, it just finds another hold on us. Sin is our true enemy, and so is the death it brings with it. Jesus knew we could never free ourselves from the grasp of sin, so he bought our freedom with his own life. Sin had no hold on his perfection. And, death too was swallowed up and destroyed by his life. Praise Jesus for the freedom he won on our behalf. We're no longer ruled by the cruel master or terrified by the death he brings. But, is that it? Once forgiven, do we just stand around waiting for Jesus to come back? Certainly not.
We must learn to walk in freedom.
Unfortunately, though Jesus won the victory over sin, sin will not surrender its territory without a fight. So, we're still living behind enemy lines, dodging temptations and maneuvering around old struggles. But, Jesus didn’t leave us without help. He gave us his Spirit to guide us through the battlefield and to empower us to defeat sin and walk in freedom. His victory is our victory, we just need to claim it for ourselves. We need to remind ourselves daily of the truth and to root out the sin and lies that so easily entangle us.
What does walking in freedom look like?
For me, true freedom in Christ looks fairly mundane to the outward observer. It's living out my spiritual practices of daily Bible reading, prayer, and journaling. But, oh the freedom I find there when I meet with Jesus! I'm reminded of his great love for me, I experience forgiveness and mercy, I marvel at his goodness and sit at his feet in gratitude. This is the freedom of Christ Jesus—to be fully myself before him, to find my sins completely forgiven, and to be wholly accepted. There is no greater joy than the everyday practice of meeting with Jesus to find my freedom in him.
Natalie Abbott co-founded Dwell with her sister, Vera Schmitz. Together, they're committed to helping others connect with God each and every day. Natalie also hosts our weekly podcast, Dwell Differently.