Friday, September 21, 2007

freedom

True freedom is found really only in Jesus. "In Jesus" means more than just being in Jesus through faith in Jesus, though it certainly starts there. It involves truly following him in all of life as part of his Body in this world. And out from that following, together or in the context of God's people, comes this freedom.

This freedom has to do with being free to do and live in God's will. This frees us up to fulfill why we were created in the first place, as well as what it really means to be human. We're free to begin to move in the rhythm, music and rhyme of the love dance of the Triune God: Father, Son and Spirit. We do this as creatures here on earth, and we do it in all of life, no matter what it is we're doing. This is at the heart of what freedom is and where it comes from, as well as what it's all about and where it's going.

Freedom in this world is not always pleasant. It may mean martyrdom, which has been and continues to be true for many Christ-followers. It will mean for all of us, denying ourselves, taking up our crosses daily to follow Christ. Only as we do that are we truly Christ-followers and can we truly live in this freedom.

So many things in us as sinners and in this fallen world cry out against that. That "freedom" we pursue ends up only in a bondage that won't let go. So when we're struggling with that, we may need to make a radical stand and cut off what in part may be entirely all right. It's just that we must live in this freedom if we're to truly follow Jesus in this life.

Getting there is not always pleasant, but it's worth it. We need to come with the attitude that we would rather be a humble servant in the house of God rather than living it up in the tents of the wicked or in the way that seems right to us.

Which will it be? Will I follow or not? And will I keep following no matter what?

16 comments:

bryan riley said...

And, will we live in that reality? Will the truth of Who He Is and what He has done resonate in our lives? Do others see that we have the power of the resurrection in and through our lives? What do we really place our faith in? Rather than freedom are we in bondage?

joe said...

i am reminded of a quote from the movie "the radicals". it is about the anabaptist movement during the reformation. He was talking about getting baptized as an adult.

he said, "better a prison of stone than one one of false conviction."

he was willing to walk out his freedom in christ at the cost of his own liberty or life. i remember that quote often.

ps - that may not be a word for word quote...just so you know.

NaNcY said...

free in Jesus
to belong to God
to be shaped by His hands
follow my Lord
obey His will
know of His Love
accept his Grace
be in His Spirit
worship and praise Him
free to be His
for His Glory

Martin Stickland said...

Off to my Mums 70th party in Wales for the weekend so have a good one yourself Ted!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Bryan, Your questions are all good ones, and in all of them most all of us fall woefully short most if not all the time.

We are people in process, and though saints in Jesus, we're also still sinners I believe, but to be engaged, of course, in the process of becoming holy according to God's good working in us.

Are we completely free in this life? I think there are Christians that seem that way, but God is working to show them areas that still are under bondage and need deliverance, surely.

So I see this as a process we work on, but as we daily walk in the light, we experience true freedom in Jesus here and now.

I see it something like that myself.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Joe, Yes. Freedom in Jesus looks like slavery to the world, and indeed it is slavery to God and to righteousness, and in following Christ, if need be, even to death, which brings the final freedom, especially at the resurrection.

Those early martyrs as well as later ones (like witnessed by "Voice of the Martyrs") are important witnesses for us all.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy, Good lines. This is what we need. What we want leaves us wanting. We need to fully embrace God's will and let our will go. Then we find real freedom in Jesus. But we too often rationalize and think we know what we need and have in mind the freedom we want.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Martin, Happy 70th to your mother! And have a good one yourself.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

"Freedom in this world is not always pleasant". I think perhaps it's because we define freedom as what we want and what will make us happy rather than what will make us holy. At least I do!

I love the way I originally memorized that scripture - there is a way that seems right unto a man but the end thereof is the way of death.

Sometimes things seem so right but on second examination - especially up against the harsh light of scripture - they are so very, very wrong. And the end thereof is always death, whether we see it or not!

Thanks for all you comments - they are much appreciated and helpful. I'll post again shortly.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Susan, Good note on happiness being uppermost in our minds instead of holiness.

Happiness is a promise of a quick fix and placed right in front of us.

Holiness begins now but is the work of a lifetime.

Of course the happiness apart from holiness ends up being a false happiness on a foundation that will not last, even in this life, and certainly not beyond it.

Thanks. I can identify with you in my own way as I try to understand what you're sharing. So that makes me want to share. Though I wish it was more dialogue. Blogging is what it is. Probably you're best off getting into real personal details with a godly woman friend or pastor. But you're grappling with these issues in the open is healthy for us, because so many of us struggle along the same lines in different ways. We can at least pray for each other as brothers and sisters in Jesus. We all need that.

Ted M. Gossard said...

By the way, Susan, I'm not telling you what you should post or not post. I'm just expressing a view I have, whether right or wrong in every situation.

NaNcY said...

we have a choice.
that is freedom, to choose who to serve.

i want to serve the one who made me, the one who truly loves me, the most powerful God. i choose to believe in Jesus, i choose to recieve His Grace. i choose life. i am free to serve my God. Praise God.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy, To enter into this freedom requires choice. And to remain it requires the same ongoing choice.

I think this is an important aspect of our ongoing life in Jesus.

Thanks for typing that.

NaNcY said...

and God gives us the freedom to choose in the first place...he does not force us to follow and serve Him. it is our choice because He gives choice. I think he wants us to come to Him out of our own need and/or want.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Susan, I hope nothing in my last comment came across as talking down. Forgive me if it did. I'm off plenty of the time, and that's going to happen in conversing even in the blog world.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy, Yes, it is our choice and the work of the Spirit and of God's grace in our lives.

I tend to believe something like prevenient grace teaching that apart from God's convicting work of the Spirit (John 16) people would not in our sin be able to come to God for salvation.