Daily Devotion, 04/20/2018, “Freedom is Here”
“For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom…And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NLT
“We don’t dance, drink or chew or date girls who do.” That funny phrase pretty much summed up my perspective of what I thought it meant to be a Christian when I was in high school. Following Jesus was all about following rules, performing rituals and checking boxes. I wasn’t especially good at doing all of that so I always felt like I was less than religious enough, holy enough and even saved enough to be in good standing with our great God. In my mind, there was nothing particularly blessed, happy, fun or alive connected with being a Christ-follower. I thought that I could maybe make it into heaven someday if I could figure out how to get it all right and then keep it all right all of the time. It was very much a fear based, legalistic and bondage oriented form of faith.
As a result, I couldn’t be real about my inner struggles with sin because they were struggles I thought I should not have been having as a Christian. I learned to play the game, hide my sins and act like a good Christian. I was not in a love relationship with the lover of my soul. I did not know the grace of God or the power of His Spirit in me. I was very much in bondage to the “Thou shalt nots” and “Thou shalts” of the faith.
Paul reminds us that, “wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Jesus came to empower us, not enslave us. He didn’t set up an obstacle course of hoops for us to jump through before giving us His love and grace. When we get that we are unconditionally loved and forever forgiven regardless of our performance, we’re free to be real about our struggles and we’re empowered to grow past them. The focus shifts from performing with perfection for God to living in relationship with God. As I get close to Him, I become more and more like Him. As I experience His Presence and glory, He changes me from the inside out over time” into His glorious image.”
If you’ve found yourself trying to figure out what hoops you need to jump through to finally be right with God, you can relax. There’s no hoop, there’s just a cross and Jesus jumped through that one for you. If you’re like me, those old tapes of never being “enough” play in your head from time to time. Agree with them. We will never be enough. The good news is that we don’t have to be. Jesus was enough for all of us. Enjoy the journey, grow in God’s love and let His Spirit fill you a little more each day. Seek to love Him with all your heart and the rules will take care of themselves. You are loved!
PS My apologies for not posting yesterday. I decided to get on the road and out of Birmingham before the morning traffic got crazy.