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Are You Living in Freedom By Jim Stern

Are You Living in Freedom?

Psalm 107 is one of many powerful psalms of deliverance and freedom.

“Then they [the children of Israel] cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.” (Psalm 107:13–15)

From the fall of Adam to the return of Jesus, God has moved to free His people from the bondage that holds them captive. Unfortunately, many Christians don’t see the chains that bind them. They say, “We are Christians and do not live in slavery.” But their lives do not demonstrate God’s freedom. They are equally bound up in the bondage of fear, insecurity, anxiety, pride, selfish ambition, deceit, and anger as those who do not know Jesus.

Where is the freedom?

A Desire for Freedom

Then there are Christians who want freedom but are confused and frustrated because they can’t find answers. The things they have been doing are not working. They take one step forward, then take five steps back. They live in what is called the “tortured middle,” the wasteland between denying Jesus and living in His promises.

Israel’s Reality

The children of Israel spent at least 125 years in slavery to the Egyptians. Most spent every day under harsh taskmasters who drove them steadily to work. They experienced no freedom. They suffered only the chains of bondage.

Not only were their physical lives in bondage, so were their spiritual lives. Egypt was a land that worshiped idols. The Pharaoh was not only the ruler of the land but the supreme God. Slowly the children of Israel began to forget the covenant promises given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Many succumbed to the “tortured middle” in their spiritual lives—denying the one true God of their fathers and living in the promises He gave their forefathers.

A Cry for Freedom

So what did they do? They cried out to God, and He heard them (Ex. 2:23,24). God brought them Moses, a redeemer who, with God’s help, brought them out of Egypt and out of the bondage of the Egyptians. I wish I could say that their freedom lasted, but disobedience and the ever-present allure of idol worship kept them from experiencing genuine freedom.

Today’s Bondage

Many Christians suffer under the yoke of spiritual bondage. They are handcuffed to fear, guilt and shame, and other things that keep them bound up. So then, what do those without Christ see from many Christians? Lives they would not want to live. They don’t have answers, and those who are supposed to have answers don’t know the answer. They see no hope!

A Choice

God offers us a choice to be free. We can be bound in slavery, or we can set ourselves free. We can loosen the chains that will lead to a new depth of intimacy with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and set us free to help others.

How? That’s an answer too long for one blog post. But let me give you a clue. Jesus will free you from bondage. He gives you a reason to believe, a reason to live, a reason to celebrate, and reason to reach others. Only in Jesus can you be freed. And only in Jesus can you stand firm no matter the circumstance or your past.

The Answer

Paul writes in Galatians 5:1, “

It is for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”

Then he writes in 1 Peter 2:16–17,

Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bond slaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.”

Freedom is a work of Jesus in those who follow Him. He gave His life for a ransom (Mark 10:45, 1 Timothy 2:6). He redeemed us by His precious blood (1 Peter 1:19). He freed us with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). The New Testament consistently declares that Jesus’s death rescued and liberated us from the bondage into which our sin brings us.

Are You Ready?

Are you ready to deal with your issues? Are you ready to live free?

The first thing you need to do is to find Jesus. He’s waiting for you with open arms to know Him and the power of freedom only He offers.

“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 Cor. 3:17–18)

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Jim Stern serves as senior pastor for CORE Church in Houston, Texas. He is also the founder of TREXO, a consulting ministry that serves churches and ministries in multi-generational disciple-making. Jim is a frequent speaker and the author of several books, including BE: The Way of Rest, the first in a series of books devoted to his greatest passion in the Lord, and a crucial need of the church today–discipling people and sending them to disciple others.

 

 

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