Breaking Free from Bondage

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

  • John 8:36

“… I want [this Bible study] to pull at your life so powerfully that the bondage of mediocre discipleship will never again be acceptable.  Christ calls us to a place of breaking free.  He woos us to the place of absolute freedom – the only kind of freedom that is real.  Let me start by pulling back the curtain just a bit to give you a preview of the road ahead.  …

”I believe God’s word brings freedom.  His incarnate Word through His written Word.  So we begin with Bible study.  We’ll see how captivity came to the kings of ancient Israel, and we’ll see how freedom comes through the King of kings.”

  • Beth Moore, Breaking Free

I wrote yesterday about making our own god for a variety of reasons.  One of the drawbacks to creating a god that is not God is that we lose the capability, and even the ability to observe in others, the gifts God has prepared for us.  One of the greatest of these is freedom.

The freedom of which I speak is unlike what the latest Bachelorette said about how she can be a Christian and have sex, because she is forgiven and you shouldn’t judge.  We do not have the freedom to ignore God’s Law.  In creating a god that we can control, we can then do as we please.  This is not freedom.  We are in bondage to sin.

As the manner of speech in Beth Moore’s quote suggests, this is from the preface of the book.  It is a very powerful book that examines a lot of our motivations, desires, and on the other side, our captivity that prevents our breaking free.

Yet, God can break those chains.  Johnathan Lindley Smith, Mia Fieldes, and Zach Williams composed a song, Chain Breaker.  “If you’ve got chains, He’s a Chain Breaker.”

Beth Moore goes on to discuss the lies and thoughts that prevent us from seeing Jesus and His promises more clearly.  When we believe the lies and listen to our thoughts that reinforce the lies, we are bound by these chains.  I grew up in a Legalist environment.  “Rule 1: You follow the rules.  You are okay.  Rule 2:  You break the rules.  We’ve got problems.”  The problem is that I saw the rules that I was breaking, without anyone else noticing some of the time – bad thoughts, speeding on an abandoned back road at 2:00am.  I had problems with myself, because I knew I was not perfect.

I know my parents meant well, but they repeated the 18th Century platitudes that did not work in the 18th Century and definitely do not work today.  “Rule of the Working Life #1: Work hard and do a good job, and you will be rewarded.”  In the next life, maybe, but in this life, I got harder assignments as a result (I became the miracle worker) and longer hours at less pay, while the boss got promoted, forgetting me as Pharaoh’s cupbearer forgot Joseph (Genesis 40-41).  One of my wife’s sisters was an experienced school teacher.  She got all the bad kids, because with her experience, she should be able to handle them – yet she deserved a break every now and then.  At least she got paid the same, not less than the new hires, as I did.  My problem was compounded by my parents repeating the ill-advice of Job’s friends.  “You were not rewarded because of some unconfessed sin in your life.”

Note:  The advice by Job’s friends is exposed as fraudulent when God enters into the conversation, so why do we continue to quote from it out of context?  It just leads to more lies and improper thoughts in our heads.

And there lies the rub.  We have the improper thoughts, poor interpretations of Biblical teaching, and bold-faced lies within the church.  We have “Sin is great; come join us” outside the church door.  Freeing ourselves of our self-imposed bondage is not an easy task.

But we have a God who can do it.  We can realize truth from lie as we read the Bible ourselves and enter Bible studies with trusted friends.  We can confess the sins in our life.  We can determine what baggage we might have that provides the lies that hold us down.  We can live as victors, but it is not on our strength.  It may be on our strength to go to the Bible studies – to hear how others interpret the Scriptures, but it is God that convicts us of that sin that we have kept buried and God that can cleanse us.

Torry Martin, in Of Moose and Men, speaks of an unbelieving disc jockey.  When he took interest in a young woman and felt a burden to attend her church, he felt a strange feeling as he entered the church building.  It felt like he was standing beneath a waterfall, being cleansed.  This happened three weeks in a row, although when he went the first time, he was thinking ‘one and done.’  Not long after, he accepted Jesus as his Savior and later married the woman.  He is now working in Christian radio, heard by millions of people around the world.  The point here is that God does the cleansing after God points out the blemish in our lives.  What we do is say, “God, You’re right.  I screwed up.  I repent of my sin.  Praise Your Holy Name.  Thank you for forgiving me.  Help me to remember two things: This behavior was sin in Your eyes, so I should never do it again.  And this sin has been forgiven, so I can let go of the guilt in order to live a victorious life.”

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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