Tag : freedom-2
Tag : freedom-2
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
(Luke 10:38-42, NIV)
This past week has been extremely stressful for me. As I reflect on the things that are stressing me, I realize that I am distracted and spending less time with the Lord. Are you busy and allowing the noise and distractions of the world to cause your soul unrest? In a world of “busyness,” seek the Lord and His righteousness always and He will give you rest.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30, NIV)
This weekend, at Gateway Church, my Pastor, Robert Morris, continued his series “Divinely Human” with the story of Mary and Martha. As I sat there and listened, I related to Martha. Martha was “distracted by all the preparations that had to be made” while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening to what He had to say. Jesus shares His “Divine Nature” with anyone who chooses to sit at His feet. Life can get very busy with our day-to-day responsibilities, but we must choose to spend time daily with our Teacher and Friend. As you spend time with Jesus, He changes you into His likeness. The change is gradual, little-by-little you become divinely human, reflecting His Light in this dark and busy world.
Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. Freedom from legalism, guilt, shame, condemnation, and self-rejection. True freedom from the power of sin; selfishness, manipulation, and control. Freedom from the fear of death and what others think about us. Freedom from comparing ourselves to others knowing with confidence that Christ dwells in us. Like Mary, we can rest at His feet with peace, knowing that we are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory. Everlasting glory which can only come from the Lord, Who is Spirit.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:17-18, NIV)\
“And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.”
(Exodus 3:7–8, 13–14, NIV)
The Lord speaks to all of us. We, as believers, are called to be like Moses; to hear the voice of God and to lead His people out of the wilderness. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to hear the voice of God through all the noise around us. The modern world today is full of distractions with demonic spirits wandering the earth to devour every believer. The Bible tells is in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” These lying spirits, who are led by the father of lies—Satan, are sent out to kill, steal and destroy. The spirit of shame, the spirit of fear, the spirit of hate, the spirit of control/manipulation and the spirit of jealousy are some of the many evil spirits indwelling people today.
The devil does not have the power or authority to kill us physically, but his mission is to kill us spiritually. In the beginning of creation, God warned Adam and Eve about the consequences of not fully obeying and trusting Him. He said, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” They gave into temptation and disobeyed God, the Father. They did not die an instant physical death. They died a worse death—separation from God. They chose to doubt God’s character. Doubting God’s power and authority and believing Satan’s fear-based lies leads to death of the soul—and that’s sin.
Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
(Ezekiel 18:4, NIV)
The good news is that we have freedom from eternal death. The resurrected Jesus Christ reconfirmed His promise of deliverance with these words: “Be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come” (Matthew 14:27). Jesus fulfilled the promise of eternal life. In John 11:25, after the death of Lazarus, He says to Mary and Martha, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Jesus also made seven “I am” declarations in the Gospel of John:
1) “I am the bread of life.”
2) “I am the light of the world.”
3) “I am the door.”
4) “I am the good shepherd.”
5) “I am the resurrection and the life.”
6) “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
7) “I am the true vine.”
As believers, we are born again, and we are anointed to proclaim the Gospel to the lost and poor in spirit because of the Great I am that lives within us.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.
(Isaiah 61:1, NIV)
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
(Psalm 100, 1-5, NIV)
How many of us focus on our day-to-day problems and forget to be grateful for the things that most people around the world consider a blessing? This week Americans celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday and as a nation, we have so much to be thankful for. The United States of America has been the most materially blessed nation in modern history. I believe the nation’s rise to superpower status was birthed, some 4,000 years ago, with one man’s faithfulness to God. God called Abram to leave his country and go where He would lead him. In Genesis 17:1-6, God promised Abram that He would cause many nations and kings to come from his lineage. When Abraham, in obedience, was willing to sacrifice his only beloved son, Isaac, God made an unconditional promise to Abraham. In Genesis 22, The angel of the Lord said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
‘Because they have not followed me wholeheartedly, not one of those who were twenty years old or more when they came up out of Egypt will see the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob— not one except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they followed the Lord wholeheartedly.’ The Lord’s anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone.
(Numbers 32:11-13, NIV)
In the above-mentioned verse, we see that the Lord’s anger burned against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness for forty years, a journey that could have taken eleven days. God wants to bless the descendants of Israel. He wants to give ancient Israel national greatness, and as Christians we believe the promise of salvation was fulfilled through Abraham’s seed in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:16). Our great nation was founded on Christian principles, and I believe we are blessed by God. Let us celebrate Thanksgiving this year with gratitude for our freedom. Freedom of our county and as believers.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
(Romans 8:1-4, NIV)
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.
(Galatians 5:13, NIV)
In Galatians 5:13, we are told to use our freedom to love and humbly serve one another, rather than indulge in the flesh. In contexts like this, the Greek word for flesh (sarx) refers to the sinful state of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit of God called Satan. Eve indulged in the flesh thinking she would get more than what God already provided for her. That is how the enemy deceives us still today. He tells us we are missing out on something that God is withholding from us. That’s a lie Satan wants us to believe and if we believe it, we will never have peace. We will always pursue things to satisfy our flesh, and those who are living in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
(Romans 8:5-8, NIV)
We were bound by sin and now we are called to freedom. We are freed by Christ. Jesus said the Holy Spirit will not leave you nor forsake you, but He will let us go if we choose to sin (separate ourselves from God) like Adam and Eve chose to do. God allows us to choose. He does not control us. He gave Adam and Eve His own authority over all things when He created the world. I believe that if we are in a deep relationship with Him and go to Him for every conflict and every lie the enemy tries to tell us, we can walk in confidence knowing that the father of lies has no power or authority over our lives. That was God’s will from the beginning, and He never changes. We were created in His image, and He is consistent and does not participate in evil.
Before the fall, Adam and Eve were in perfect relationship with God. They had no fear, no depression, and no anxiety. There were no murders, no sickness, no jealousy, and no envy until Eve doubted God’s Word and she chose to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. She also gave the apple to someone else, in this case, Adam. Adam was influenced by Eve, who was deceived by Satan. Still today, we see this pattern in many of our modern-day relationships. We were created by God for relationship—first to be in relationship with Him—and then to one another. Satan wants to come between us and our Creator. He wants us to turn away from God and turn toward him. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God delegated back to man his God-given authority that Adam and Eve had yielded to Satan in the Garden of Eden. Jesus authorized His disciples and all believers to go out in the world in His name and use His power—His love—to defeat the enemy. Our authority and dominion have been restored in Jesus. We are free from bondage when we do not indulge the “flesh” and serve one another humbly in love.
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.“
(Galatians 5: 16-21, NIV)
“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” (Galatians 5:1, NIV).
This past weekend we celebrated the Declaration of Independence which was adopted on July 4tth, 1776. It represents the core of our beliefs-the very makeup of our identities as citizens of the United States of America. United, not divided. The Declaration of Independence contains several references to God, and it states that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” We can see in these words an affirmation of our founding fathers’ religious faith. In stating that the people’s rights are endowed by our Creator, liberty is the inviolable birthright of all. It was created to secure our divinely endowed and unalienable rights. The Declaration refers to God as “Nature’s God,” “Creator,” “Supreme Judge,” and professes its “firm reliance on the protection of divine providence.” In God we must trust.
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. (Galatians 5:13, NIV)
God created man and woman in His image to reveal His character and nature, to take care of His creation, and to be in relationship with Him. He gave Adam and Eve freedom to make their own choices, and sadly, as we continue to do today, they decided to not trust in His provision and wisdom. They chose to doubt His Word and character resulting in a spiritual separation from God, their ultimate demise. Innocent humanity can only know about evil by being able to participate in it. God knows evil only to hate it. True freedom is when our wants align with God’s Will for our lives. Only when we surrender control, and trust in His infinite wisdom, will we experience the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. As believers we are freely given eternal life through the death and resurrection of Jesus and are empowered by the Holy Spirit to choose to live in freedom of our sin nature.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4, NIV)