We live in a world where God has unwrapped the beauty of His own creation for our enjoyment.  The overwhelming power of waves crashing against the rocks. The sun rising like a giant ball of fire against the backdrop of a beckoning sky. The moon arched against the dark night as if suspended in space and surrounded by stars. An eagle in flight as it locks into the thermals. A gazelle running with ease as though it has springs built into its feet. These are visible expressions of God’s freedom within His creation.

“God saw that it was so good.”  [1]

In like manner, God created men and women to live and experience the free life. Once the seed of God’s new life had been planted in our hearts, love for God became deep and fulfilling.  There is a work of transformation going on in the life of every believing believer. By that, I mean the gift of God’s incredible liberty is ours to be unwrapped each day. I just love how the Psalmist describes the beauty of our walk with God. In other words, as I set my heart to live in God’s truth and wisdom, freedom is a by-product. Amazing!

“And I’ll stride freely through wide open spaces

as I look for your truth and your wisdom.”  [2]

Obviously, the free life means different things to different people. To some, it would be the thrill while out hiking in the mountains away from the daily grind of working in an office. To others, it may be the experience of getting out of debt after being snared in its trap for so long. Still, others may see freedom as the breaking of a habit that has impacted their lives negatively. After looking back there is a real sense of relief and gratitude that the temptation has subsided for now and thankfully we can get on with our life. Yet, some are afraid of what might happen to them if they choose to believe Jesus’ powerful words of emancipation,

“Then you will know the truth,

    and the truth will set you free.” [3]

The freedom walk appears to carry responsibility with it. Some Christ followers choose to believe they are walking within God’s freedom because their church group takes that position. Or maybe because you are no longer attending regular church meetings. In spite of these things, He still wants us to be completely free.

“run in the path of your commands,

  for you have set my heart free.” [4]

I believe there is far more of God’s gift of the free life to unwrap. Day by day He calls us to live within the wide open spaces of His purposeful freedom.

THE UNWRAPPING OF THE GIFT BRINGS ABUNDANT LIBERTY

The unwrapping of God’s gift brings with it compassion, unbounded joy, deep inner peace, loving care, health and healing and an incredible awareness of God being with us!  You may be one of those followers of Christ who had a painful experience sometime in the past. You were judged because you failed to match up to the standards of those around you. Maybe others looked down upon you because you had not experienced what they had and so you were branded as having little or no faith. The guilt and shame of not doing more and working harder led you to burnout. And you are left with the feelings of failure. The good news is that there is healing and freedom for you right now. Without a doubt, Jesus desires to look into your eyes and remind you of His unfailing love. He wants to gently take your hand until you let go of that negative experience that happened a week, a month or even a year ago. Without the experience of His healing grace, you are living in slavery and not the freedom He died to provide for you. Why don’t you allow Him to set you free and restore you right now? He longs for that!

WHEN A DISTRACTION BECOMES A DIVERSION

Everything was going so well. You felt that your relationship with God was real and your simple trust in Him brought deep inner peace and an awareness of His precious love caused worship to spring up from deep within your heart. Life was so good. Sharing Jesus with friends and neighbours was so natural. Serving Him was a beautiful joy. There were even times when you felt you wanted to stay at home and not attend the routine gathering. The reason, you had felt to visit a neighbour who was in need of company.  Or, you just wanted to be alone with your Lover King!

However, slowly, friends and church leaders started to talk to you about being more committed to meetings and to the vision of the local community. You found that over time this emphasis became a distraction from your pure devotion to the Lord. The pressure caused you to feel guilty and so the distraction grew and became a diversion. Life became hard. Those activities of reading The Book, sharing the Lord and enjoying His presence became mechanical over time. And, the well of salvation seemed to dry up. If I have been writing about you then turn to Jesus. Ask Him to help you find your way back from the diversion. He longs to welcome you afresh into the simplicity of a pure love walk with Him. Follow Him. It is far more important to listen to Jesus and His Spirit then the undue pressure of others. Always! Freshness and fire will return in your fellowship with the Lord. Peace will be restored in your heart. And, freedom will once again be renewed. Go for it!

ALL WE HAVE IS HIS

Have you ever carefully considered what it means to be free of things? What does it mean to let people go simply because they belong to Him? We are stewards and not owners. As we unwrap this perfect gift of God’s liberty we understand that the dimensions of His love and care for us are never-ending. They are expansive! As I continue to consider what freedom really means I realise that my family belongs to Him. My possessions are His, including my money. My friends and family are His. I am His. I believe we desperately need to be set free from holding on to things. We have been recipients of God’s provision many times where the generosity of believers has overwhelmed us. No fuss, no bother, no fanfare! And yet, we all know that it is because of the revelation of God’s freedom within the hearts of those who are the givers of His gifts.

Within my business life, He is the managing director. He calls the shots. In my personal life, He wants to be uppermost within my affections. We are told in John 17 that life everlasting is all about knowing God. He prayed that you and I might experience intimacy with Him. He deeply enjoys our fellowship. When we embrace the freedom that Jesus has made accessible to us we are set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others. The outcome is to live in the far-reaching life of God. His gift of freedom is yours now!

OPEN YOUR HEART WITH EXPECTATION

Nelson Mandela said when leaving the Victor Verster Prison in Paarl, South Africa,

“As I walked out of the door towards the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” [5]

He had been locked away in prisons for twenty-seven years. Now, most of us have not experienced being incarcerated for over two decades. Yet, there are too many lovers of God who know what it means to be locked away within a small self-centred world. Those who understand the suffocating effects of being exposed to rules and regulations, shame and guilt, condemnation and despair. There is hope for you. I want you to know that there is total freedom from this trap. We can know the power of God drawing us ever deeper into the life-giving, ever expansive, heaven sent and glorious freedom that God has provided for us in Jesus.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN

However, there is another side to this coin we call freedom. We are not to use it for self-serving purposes. “You, my brothers were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather, serve one another in love.” [6] But, we’ll talk more about that next time.

See you soon…

 

[1]  Genesis 1:31 MSG   [2] Psalm 119:45 MSG  [3] John 8: 32 NIV   [4] Psalm 119:32 NIV [5] Nelson Mandela  [6] Galatians 5:13 NIV