Faith-Full Friday, freedom, peace, Vanessa

Faith-Full Friday Release the Prisoner

Welcome to Faith – Full Friday, freedom style.  I’m here to tell you about the one and only way that you can experience true freedom in your life. 

The Bible says, “in this world, [we] will have trouble.” If there’s one thing you and I can count on in life, it’s problems.

Sometimes, problems feel like chains that weigh us down. Sometimes we seek to conquer them, only to find they’ve conquered us. We push and pull our way through, taking a few steps forward and a few steps back.  Eventually the dance of life can leave us feeling anything but free.

We all seek freedom. Some of us try to control things. Some of us look to chemicals. Some of us rely on relationships, jobs, or social status. We read books and research ways to find the things we think will make our lives better.

Salvation is a word thrown around fairly frequently.  It’s been a hot topic for centuries.  Some people, like Miyamoto Musashi, believe “there is no one way to salvation.”  Buddha said, “work out your own salvation.  Do not depend on others.”  Plato said, “Courage is a kind of salvation.”  Maria Montessori said, “If help and salvation are to come, they can only come from the children, for the children are the makers of men.”

With all these thoughts and ideas floating about, what are we to believe?  Who can we trust to tell us the truth?  Is there even such a thing as TRUTH?

If questions like these keep your mind racing at night, my friend, you’re in the right place. I’ll start with the simple answer.

The time tested answer is a resounding YES!  Yes, there is such a thing as truth. Yes, there is a place to find the answers you seek. Yes, you can trust someone to tell you the truth.

TRUTH is a PERSON. His name is Jesus Christ. Freedom, as a result, is found in a relationship with Him.

Skeptical?

I get that.

It does sound strange. You might be wondering if I am just trying to personify the value of truth. Or maybe I’m a little crazy. I promise I haven’t lost my mind and neither have you!

I have, however, EXPERIENCED an authentic relationship with this man Jesus which has resulted in an amazing amount of freedom in my life!

So here are the facts.

The Bible says in Romans 3:23 that “all [people] have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  This one is easy.  No matter how moral you are, I bet you can think of SOMETHING you’ve done wrong at least once in your life.  Ever told a white lie to keep from hurting someone’s feelings?  Ever tasted a piece of fruit in the grocery store without paying for it?  Ever said something hateful to get back at a person who hurt you?

Sometimes we think if we just live good enough lives, we’ll be ok. Maybe if the good outweighs the bad, we’ll make it into heaven. Unfortunately the ticket to heaven’s gates is perfection. Romans 6:23 says, “the wages of sin is death.” We’re not talking a death of your body here. We’re talking a spiritual death. Hebrews 9:27 says that “people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” That judgment is where we receive payment (the wages) for our sin.

Now, if I stopped right there, that’s pretty scary stuff. I’m imagining a fiery jail cell for eternity. This isn’t sounding much like freedom is it?

The GOOD NEWS though is there’s a solution to my (and your) inability to live perfect sinless lives!

John 3:16 says that “God so loved the world that He gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Though God did lay out the wages of sin, the same verse also tells us that “the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

See only God himself could live a perfect, sinless, life. The thought of spending eternity without YOU was so heartbreaking to Him that He decided to take on the very thing that was impossible for us to do. He came. He lived. He did not sin. His brutal death, a perfect sacrifice for our sin, covered our debt.

Are you following me here? Jesus’ death opens the gate to that fiery cell and allows us to be set free!

What amazes me is that God did this before you or I ever recognized our need for him. Romans 5:8 says, “While we were sinners, Christ died for us.” There’s a general misconception that we need to clean up our lives to come to God. The truth is, God already paid your debt and you just have to take hold of your voucher. 

If that seems too good to be true, consider the person who’s owed a tax refund by their government. The money is there waiting on the taxpayer, but the only way to receive the money is to file a return asking for the refund.

The only way you’ll grab hold of your voucher for eternal life is to confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead (see Romans 10:9).  This, my friend, is a mystery, but it is our ticket to lasting FREEDOM.

Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” God will reveal himself to you if you look.

Sometimes we let the troubles of this life keep us from seeking God. We cling to our bias, our fear, our anger, and our confusion. Our eyes become blinded by these things and we can’t hear or see God when He reveals Himself to us. We need to shake off these blinders and set our gaze on the Truth that is before us.

If you’re looking for true, lasting freedom… If you’re tired of the temporary fixes of this life, I’ll invite you to consider TRUTH. We don’t have to live conquered lives. We don’t have to chase everything this world has to offer to numb our pain. That pain we feel. Those chains. They’re just symptoms of our need for a relationship with Jesus. 

Jesus isn’t offering us relief from the trouble in this world. In fact it was He who said we would have it. His offer is bigger and better than that. He offers FREEDOM from the condemnation of our sin. Freedom from an eternity separated from God. 

Guys freedom and comfort aren’t the same thing. Freedom doesn’t mean I can do anything I want. No, real freedom will require surrendering my imperfect desires for His perfect desires sometimes. Freedom is a place of rest from the troubles of this world because Jesus has overcome this world.

Hey that reminds me! Join us next week as we begin a new series on REST!

Will you pray with me?

Dear God,

I know your word has much to say about freedom. I know that a relationship with your son Jesus is where I will find freedom from the death I deserve. My soul aches for that freedom. Please Jesus come into my heart and save me from my sins. Set me on a path of truth so that I may start living my new life of freedom today! Please God help me to surrender my heart completely to you and not take it back. I want to live with you forever in freedom.

Amen.

“Resurrection Power” by Chris Tomlin

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