Freedom in Christ!

Keyboard, Mouse, iPhone

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what freedom in Christ really means.

I’ve heard some say that we can do whatever we want because of it, and I’ve heard others say that we have no authority to live in light of our freedom, we still have to follow the Bible rule-for-rule. I agree with both, and I agree with neither.

Okay, so I’m a nerd and I love the dictionary, so I looked up “freedom” in the (online) dictionary. And usually, I don’t like every definition of a word, but I liked all of these. So here is “freedom” defined.

  1. the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint
  2. exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
  3. the power to determine action without restraint.
  4. political or national independence.
  5. personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery
  6. exemption from the presence of anything specified (usually followed by from):
  7. the absence of or release from ties, obligations, etc.

So, this implies:

We are at liberty and are not in confinement to the law.

We are exempt from external control of sin and the law over us.

We have the power to determine how we want to live.

We are free, according to the ruling of God.

We are personally free, and we are not in slavery to the law which brings sin, and sin which brings death.

We are free from the obligation to live under the law.

We are free from ties to sin.

Galatians 5:1; 13-14 says, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. […] For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

 

We have been set free, guys! Let’s see, what were we slaves to? Oh yeah, being confined by the law, being entwined in sin, and being condemned to death. BUT WE ARE FREE. Doesn’t sound too shabby, does it?

Why do we have freedom? Because of grace.

Our sin is not counted against us.

Should we keep on sinning, though? I mean, it’s not like we’re punished for it or anything. Romans 6:1-2 says “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”

 

I got a new computer about six weeks ago, and it is beautiful. It is fast, it is smart, it is clean and neat, it is light, and I believe that it makes my life oh-so-much better. I always enjoy working on my new computer.

I do have another computer that I used before, though. At first, it worked and I liked it, but after a few years, it got old. Now, it is old, slow, clunky and heavy, ugly, and unpleasant to work with. It makes me cringe every time I use it. My new computer is at least three times faster, and I can always count on it.

When I got it, I was ecstatic. I was so glad to be rid of what caused me so much trouble! But I had to learn how to work it and not let my old PC habits kick in. (The switch from a PC to a Mac is hard! But totally worth it to me.) After I learned how to use it, it came completely naturally to me and I would NEVER want to go back! I have a new computer now; it would just make my life worse to go back to use my old and broken one. What would be the sense in that???

I suppose the same thing happens in our lives too. When we do not know any better, we completely enjoy sin. After all, it is “fun”. If it wasn’t fun, why would we do it? So we continue on in sin, not knowing any better, and sort of enjoying ourselves in the process. But then we become Christians, and become new in Christ. We aren’t refurbished, we are NEW, and we still have the shrink-wrapping and tag. So, my question is, why do we want to keep feeding into the old nature (using the old, broken, clunky computer) when we can thrive by living for Christ (using the new, working, beautiful, and light computer)?

When we became Christians, we put away our sin nature. Because, perhaps we enjoyed using the broken computer for a while before we realized it was broken, but now that we have the new computer, why would we possibly want to use the old computer? It may take a while and work to get used to it, but still. Why would we want to go back?

Now that we have forgiveness and life and freedom in Christ, we can live our new lives without regret. We can live our new lives to the full, rejoicing in our salvation!

Yeah, we have freedom! But what would be the purpose of using our freedom – to use whichever computer we want – to go back to the old and broken system? Honestly, which one is better?

You know.

Living in sin is not at all fulfilling. Living in Christ is both currently and eternally fulfilling. Sin does not help us to grow or enjoy our salvation.

One day of growing in and knowing Christ is better than an entire life of fleeting-pleasure sin, my friends. Sin does not, will not, and cannot satisfy. However, a relationship with God through Christ can – and does.

Technically, we could live however we want. We *could* live in sin, because it is not counted against us. We *could* live for ourselves in never-satisfying worldly pleasure. We *could*. But we shouldn’t. Not just because “the Bible tells me so” – although it does – but because, we all know firsthand, that the world can not satisfy. We’ve all experienced it! You may try to convince yourself that you’re happy – but you can not truly find your satisfaction until your heart is set in the unfailing love of Christ. Trust me, I know. I’ve been there.

And it may seem counterintuitive to do so – but it’s worth every bit of life you put into living for Christ. Seriously. This isn’t our duty, it’s our joy.

Let’s use our freedom to live a worthwhile life. Are y’all with me?

*aj

Truly Satisfied

Beach-Cliff-Sand

Even if I might sound like I have all of my life figured out and perfect, it’s not so. Don’t worry. I ain’t perfect.

Truth is, I’m not content all the time. Really. I have a tendency to worry about things way too much. And even though my head knows that worrying does nothing, my heart jumps in the way and makes me forget how secure I really am in Christ.

I mean, what if I don’t have enough money to pay for [insert important thing here]?

What if I can’t get the [insert “needed” thing here]?

Although I’ve read this verse in Hebrews before, it stuck out to me this time.

Hebrews 13:5-6

‘Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ’I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’”

Sometimes we might let something other than God drive our lives. For example, money.

Here is the worldly life in a nutshell.

You go to school from 5 years old to 18. You’re supposed to get good grades to get into a “good college”. You go to college for a few years and “you better get good grades, or you won’t get a good job.”

So you finally land a good job. How do you know if it’s a good job? (Although this is a little sarcastic, it’s kind of true.)

You ask the following questions:

  • Does it pay well, so that I have enough money to both take care of me and/or my family and still have enough money to buy what I want? Really: Can I get what I want out of it so that I’m comfortable?
  • Do I like it? Rephrased: Does it make me happy and comfortable?
  • Can I imagine doing this for the rest of my life? Meaning: Is it enough to fulfill me?

See, there’s nothing wrong with having a good job. In fact, it is truly a good thing and a blessing. However, we need to be able to say, “If everything was taken away from me: my earthly pleasures, my home, my great job, my best friend, my Starbucks, my phone, my warm bed, and everything else along with it, I would be content.”

I got to hear Leslie Ludy speak yesterday at a conference. One point that she made stuck out to me. (This is paraphrased; so don’t quote her or me on these exact words.)

“If you’re not finding your contentment in knowing that Jesus is all you need, and looking to find contentment somewhere else, you will never be content.”

Am I finding my fulfillment in the amount of cash in my bank account?

Am I finding my fulfillment in my stuff or my circumstances?

Do I really believe that Jesus is enough?

Because Jesus is enough.

 

Confidently, I will say, The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?

 

My last post was about how God is satisfying enough, and I guess that’s what I’m trying to say here too.

This can go another way as well.

How about we chat about love for a moment.

The world says that true love comes from a human relationship that makes me happy. That satisfies me. That gives me the fairytale ending I want.

But – like temporal stuff – it’s temporal, unless it’s an outpouring of the eternal.

Let me explain.

Because I am content with the love of God inside me, and I know He is enough for me, possessions take lesser importance. I can enjoy human love more because I already understand what Real Love looks like.

I can rejoice in all circumstances, because I know that my life is in the hands of God.

What can man do to me?

Whether I live or I die, it’s a win-win.

Keeping our lives contented – not because of possessions or relationships – comes from finding satisfaction in God alone. Because God is enough.

No worries here. Lay ‘em down at the Cross.

By realizing the significance of the love of God, you’ll find your satisfaction.

*aj