---Snapshots from a quick 24-hour trip to the coast to visit Kristian where he was working. Half the time I was alone with all four little ones at the beach (no time for pictures then!), which was one of the most exhausting things I've ever done, but I lived to tell about it and they had a blast. I've already *almost* forgotten the difficulty, and the memories of the fun are totally winning out.---
FREEDOM has been a theme unexpectedly dominating my 2017. I didn’t set out to explore it, it just keeps hitting me hard as I read through the Bible.
I see the word freedom thrown around a lot online and such. I know sometimes we use the word lightly, which is fine, but I'm struck by how often we can be tricked into thinking we've arrived at freedom via some thing or circumstance. Sometimes we count on a sense of momentary freedom which won't last in the long run or through the hard times. We look to things that are limiting, lacking depth and longevity.
True freedom is not attached to a paycheck or health (or supplements & oils) or a house or a spouse or a job or "finding" oneself. Those things can be awesome gifts, but they are not ultimate freedom. People in literal chains talk about FREEDOM because of Jesus, as do people dying from cancer. This year has brought some of the greatest challenges I’ve dealt with, yet the freedom and love of Jesus have been all-encompassing. Freedom is not just for the easy, care-free days.
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians)
More reflection on freedom takes me in this direction: The freedom Jesus offers allows us to live focused on the life Christ calls us to, not weighed down by what others think. It releases people-pleasers like me from their bondage. True freedom breaks the chains of addiction- whether it's to a substance, pornography, social media, or success. And the way I see it, that freedom is only found in the love of Jesus.
"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' " (Galatians 5)
And still another way to allow God's freedom to change us: When we take what the Bible says and morph it into our own list of rules or opinions or oppressive guidelines, that’s not freedom in Christ. That’s living like the Pharisees of Jesus’s day, and many religions of today. But when we look at what Jesus taught in love and wisdom and form our lives around HIM, freedom is inevitable. Jesus’s love is breathtaking and I’m astounded by the freedom he offers. See what Paul says in the Bible says about living under the law vs. living as sons and daughters in Galatians 3 and 4.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8)
Live in His freedom.
Love because of it.