Thursday, April 21, 2005


"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).

The other day, I was reflecting on the freedom that God gives us, and how completely counter-intuitive it is. For the last couple of months, I've been dealing with a specific issue, and was growing very frustrated and tired of rules. I didn't know exactly what the rules needed to be related to this issue, and I was sick of the whole thing.

Finally God brought me to a point where I realized I needed to call a spade a spade, and admit that it was sin, not "pushing the limits" or "bending the rules" or "it's not that big of a deal" or "avoiding legalism" or whatever euphemism I might pridefully want to give it. I realized I needed to set new, much clearer and stricter guidelines that couldn't be so easily bent--ones that weren't fuzzy. Ones that were truly in line with God's Word. And though the idea of doing so was annoying and frustrating to me, I was reminded of Hebrews 12:11 - "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

The verse applies to self-discipline, too. It's not always pleasant; in fact, it's often a pain. But you reap what you sow, and by sowing in self-discipline to honor God, you'll reap a harvest of righteousness and peace. I knew I had to trust God's promise in that verse. (Let me clarify that in setting these rules, I was not trying to produce or earn a righteousness of my own--but seeking to please God who bought me righteousness on the cross.)

Fast forward a few weeks, and I'm amazed at the freedom I feel. It sounds crazy--how can I feel freedom when I'm trying to live by stricter guidelines? But that's exactly what I'm experiencing. Freedom from guilt; freedom from wondering whether or not I've "crossed the line" and constantly trying to determine where the line should be. Freedom from the slavery of sin. Freedom to honor God; freedom in knowing my actions are pleasing to Him. And with this freedom comes a peace and a joy that can only come in walking with God. Crazy how that works.

"If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36).

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