Freedom in Christ

What does true freedom in Christ look like?Freedom in Christ

What does true freedom in Christ look like? Many believe religion is a set of rules, a thou shalt and thou shalt not, but it is so much more. True freedom comes from a deep and abiding love of Jesus Christ. This show examines your personal journey.

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So, freedom is our topic and it seems appropriate with July 4th being celebrated here in the US that our freedom is so pivotal to our lives. What does freedom mean to you? Is it doing anything you want to do whenever you want to do it? What does that look like to you? Each of us has a different idea of what freedom means.

Freedom can mean leaving sin behind. You may not realize that sin is slavery. Whatever that sin may be and there are many, the addiction to sin without the ability to break it is truly a struggle. It can be something simple like an addiction to chocolate, gluttony, or even shopping or more severe like pornography or drugs.

The end result of sin is death, the death of our souls. Just like an addiction to drugs or even smoking can hurt our physical bodies, so too a sin can hurt our mortal souls.

When we sin the first thing that we do is rationalize it. In our minds and then in our hearts. Well, it isn’t that bad, or it is okay if that is what I want it is not hurting anyone. Or, we are consenting adults and can do whatever we would like. The amazing thing about sin is that God does not force His way on us. We choose to be in that sin.

So when I hear people say that religion is too restricting, I can easily answer that no, sin is too restricting because often you can’t leave it behind. But freedom, true freedom is knowing that God forgives and gives us the free will to sin no more, or to continue in our destructive behavior.

Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Slavery to sin is all around us, and we see it clearly now. Before it was shrouded in a dark, smoke-filled room. There were inklings of sin, there were little hints here and there, but now? Now it is a free-for-all, and sin reigns in the hearts of many. The idea of self-preservation has taken hold like never before. Fear is our greatest enemy and it can be used by the enemy to control. Think about this.

What does sin give us? It gives us many byproducts. It gives us guilt, the guilt of indulgence. It gives us sickness and disease, it gives us moral corruption.

What does freedom in Christ give us? It gives us the truth; it gives us joy – the joy that surpasses all understanding. It gives us the ability to wake up each morning without guilt, and it gives a clear vision of where we are going. I heard one of my favorite speakers share that we should weep and ask for forgiveness each night for our sins. And when we do, the Lord will forgive us. With this knowledge of forgiveness, we can begin each day with joy – because we have repented before the Lord. If it is a serious sin, one that can hurt our mortal souls, we should seek counsel from clergy in confession for a Catholic or a pastor for a protestant.

Just the other day I was delighted when a young man approached my friend and I after daily mass and asked what time confession happened at the church – he shared he had been away from the church for some time and wanted to come back. He wanted to talk to a pastor and work through his forgiveness. This is what freedom looks like. He was fearless and it looked like the Lord was already working in his life.

When we ask for forgiveness we are acknowledging the need for repentance. This thought is our conscience speaking and it can only speak if it is well-formed.

Read 1 Corinthians 10 – here, Paul is saying that while food and drink were no longer banned as in the time of the Old Testament, that did not mean that everything is beneficial. We know that overeating can make us sick, or eating the wrong types of foods if we are allergic. Would we willingly eat something that can make us sick? No—of course not, but then why can’t we refrain from the things that are evil and can hurt our souls?

Sometimes people think that if they give up sin they are doing it for God. It goes something like this, “Lord—I am giving up evil for you, now please do this and this for me.” We bargain with God – I’ll do this if you do that. Giving up sin will give us freedom. It is not a bargaining tool. I learned this a week ago when I felt the need to repent and I thought about fasting. I would fast all day and eat one meal at night. After the first week, I decided to do it another week, and felt that the Lord said, “Did I ask you to do this?” My second week of fasting was not for any particular reason, whereas the first week was… and I felt called to do it. So, I listened.

This voice is one that we have to learn to hear, we hear it in our hearts and we can answer with a yes or a no – sure, it would not have hurt anything or anyone to fast each week, but my purpose was not to lose weight, it was repentance.

The freedom we want in our lives and the joy can only come when we are free of guilt. When we do what is right, when we are in communion with God, when we seek the eternal good over the temporal we will discover that joy that we crave. Many of the sinful acts are ones that bring temporary enjoyment. But that is not the same as joy – or happiness that is free from guilt. Even the most hardened sinner who thinks wrong is right and right is wrong, is often very angry when they spew their nonsense. I listed the other day in passing to a man who was claiming that what he believed should be elevated among all other things – but then, he completed the sentence condemning the Christians for their bias and Christianity had been foisted on those and forced.

You can not force someone to believe – in fact, there is no way humanly possible to force Christianity, true Christianity that changes a soul. That my friends is a gift, it is a pure gift from the Almighty that calls to us and brings us to that higher place that is where we stand with God and not against Him. True freedom is deciding for ourselves if we will answer the call if we will accept the gift from the Almighty and in this way, open our hearts for even more blessings in our lives.

Let’s pray – Lord please teach me what true freedom looks like – what is true freedom in Christ and how can I lead a life that is beneficial to my soul. Lord allow me to hear your voice, and lead me, show me the joy that true freedom from sin can bring and I pray specifically for the following needs… and I pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen!

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