From the Pulpit: Freedom is knowing the truck of God's love

By: 
Pastor Jim Steen, Spirit of Truth Church

The movie Braveheart tells a story of William Wallace’s leadership in the fight of the Scots in the 13th and 14th century to be free from the tyrannical rule of England over the Scottish people. Wallace arrogantly refused to give in to the English abuse of the Scottish people, and literally laid his life on the line in the fight for freedom. According to the movie Braveheart, the last thing Wallace defiantly said while his head was laying on the chopping block, with an English blade about to come down on his neck, was, “FREEDOM!”

As we all know, during the 18th century, revolutionary Americans also fought and won the battle for freedom against the English. With that victory to gain American independence, our nation set a course in which FREEDOM would be a major characteristic of what it means to be an American. Being a citizen of the United States of America includes privileges of freedom, particularly those that are listed in the first 10 amendments of the constitution, called the Bill of Rights. On the Fourth of July, our celebration of the freedom / independence that we have as Americans takes precedence over most of our general routines. We sort of “stop everything” for the holiday of celebrating the freedom that we have as Americans, shooting off fireworks, relaxing with family and friends with picnics and barbeques in our back yards and at parks. Some of us go to the lake and “play” for a while on the water. The celebration of our freedom might get lost in the traditions of the Fourth of July, but hopefully we will remember what the holiday is all about in the midst of the special activities.

Freedom, obviously, is also at the heart of what it means to be a Christian. This freedom that we talk about as Christians is an even deeper freedom than the freedom that we have as Americans. As Americans, we have religious freedom, and freedom of speech, and so many other freedoms. But, in the midst of those freedoms, we can easily become slaves of situations and conditions in our lives that bring heavy burdens and hardships. We sometimes make bad choices and those poor choices can lead down a path of addiction or slavery to miserable situations. The sins that we commit can enslave us to bitterness or anger or resentment. Sometimes they are not even the sins that we commit, but the sins that someone else has committed that so adversely affects our lives so that we feel enslaved or trapped, and may not feel that there is a way out. But Jesus came so that we would have freedom; freedom that only God can provide. It is a freedom that comes with honesty of repentance and willingness to receive the forgiveness that God wants us to experience. It is a freedom that comes from knowing the truth of God’s love for you and me, as we live our lives in the release of the burdens that would otherwise weigh heavily upon us. Freedom is at the heart and center to what it means to know Christ; to live in a relationship with Christ.

It is not always easy, and freedom can have a price attached to it. It certainly cost Jesus Christ, when he gave his life on the cross so that we would have freedom from the power of sin and death. And it can cost you and me as well, because for us to experience freedom, we need to let go of our intent to manipulate and control things in our lives, and listen to how God is leading us to make the choices that would be for the peace and well-being that God knows that our lives can be filled with.

May the freedom that is ours in Jesus Christ, fill your lives in such a way that any heaviness from sin would be lifted from you; that the forgiveness, peace, and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ would give to you a freedom that you would celebrate on July 4th, and every other day of the year.

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The Brandon Valley Journal

 

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