Thursday, July 05, 2007

 

Today's Topic--Freedom!

1 Peter 5:6-7
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. (NASU)

“Be not anxious! Earthly possessions dazzle our eyes and delude us into thinking that they can provide security and freedom from anxiety. Yet all the time they are the very source of all anxiety. If our hearts are set on them, our reward is an anxiety whose burden is intolerable. Anxiety creates its own treasures and they in turn beget further care. When we seek for security in possessions we are trying to drive out care with care and the net result is the precise opposite of our anticipations. The fetters which bind us to our possessions prove to be cares themselves.” From The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Phil 3:19-21
20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. (NASU)


What does it mean to be free? That isn't really a rhetorical question.

In America we talk of "Freedom" as if it is a birthright or an entitlement. We all want our "rights" protected so that we can pursue whatever petty little thing it is that makes us feel better. We are all part of at least one special interest group that insists it is being neglected, overlooked, mistreated, or offered second class status.

We fight and we argue about "our" stuff. I've even heard this language in Christian communities: "I left that church because they weren't meeting 'my' needs."

Yeah, that's why God created this community--so that "I" could be the center of attention, right?

Is this really freedom?

I mean, look around us--we are tied to our cares and our anxieties, we are chained to our possessions and our passions. We run around anxiously trying to protect the very things that often hold us in the very chains of bondage.

Why do we do that?

Why do we think that a new job, spouse, haircut, car, movie, boat, home, location, government, church, relationship, etc. will free us into the blissful realm of happiness?

I don't know that I can answer that, but I know a remedy.

HUMILITY

It doesn't come cheap, and it isn't easy to maintain, but humility will help us break free from bondage.

Look at the Bonhoeffer quote above, then read the passage from Philippians underneath it.

Paul tells us that our citizenship is in another country besides this earthly domain. We don't belong here. Since we don't belong, why do we waste our time buying into the stuff of this place? Why do we bind ourselves to the stuff of earth?

Those who are Christ followers have a home that is not this mundane, temporary place. We have a home that is not fully realized yet, but it is one in which we can live to some degree right now. We don't have to wait for Independence Day or Christ's return, we can live abundantly now.

Okay, enough preaching. Here's the deal. We were meant to be free with heavenly freedom. We were not meant to be chained up here. Jesus didn't live, die, and get out of the grave just so I could have the latest laptop or so that my kids could enjoy the newest video games.

Jesus lived so that he could grant us true freedom. That freedom comes at a cost. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer says: "When Christ calls a man, he calls him to come and die."

As the popular cliche reminds us, freedom is not free.

Tonio K sings a song that I think is appropriate here. The song is entitled "You will go Free." Enjoy!

you've been a prisoner
been a prisoner all your life
held captive in an alien world
where they hold your need for love to your throat like a knife
and they make you jump
and they make you do tricks
they take what started off as such an innocent heart
and they break it and break it and break it
until it almost can't be found

well i don't know when
and it don't know how
i don't know how long it's gonna take
i don't know how hard it will be
but i know
you will go free

you can call it the devil
call it the big lie
call it a fallen world
what ever it is it ruins almost everything we try
it's the sins of the fathers
it's the choices we make
it's people screaming without making a sound
from prison cells in paradise
where we're chained to our mistakes

well i don't know when
and it don't know how
i don't know how much it's gonna cost you
probably everything
but i know
you will go free

you can't see your jailer
you can't see the bars
you can't turn your head round fast enough
but it's everywhere you are
it's all around you
and everywhere you walk this prison yard surrounds you

but in the midst of all this darkness
in the middle of this night
i see truth cut through this curtain like a laser
like a pure and holy light
and i know i can't touch you now
and i don't want to speak too soon
but when we get sprung
from out of our cages baby
god knows what we might do

well i don't know when
and it don't know how
i don't know if you'll be leaving alone
or if you'll be leaving with me
but i know
you will go free

Often this freedom comes when we surrender our selfish interests in order to care about the issues of others. Paul reminds us of this in Philippians 2 when he reminds us to look not only after our own interests, but also to concern ourselves with the interests of others. He calls us to have the same attitude as Jesus.

Jesus died for us to be free. Can we offer any less sacrifice for the freedom of others than to find a way to die to the things that bind us so that we can be free to serve the needs of others? Can we humble ourselves? If we can't, we won't be free!

Be like Jesus.

Be free.

Live humbly.

Do justice.

Thanks for reading!


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