The Kingdom of God is all about living a free life. When Jesus announced His public ministry (Luke 4:18), He read from the Isaiah 61 passage of Scripture which starts off by saying... The Spirit of the Lord Yahweh is on me; because Yahweh has anointed me to preach good news to the humble. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to those who are bound; (WEB)
Simply put, Jesus came to set us free. In John 8:36, He says ... If therefore the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. (WEB) So there should be no question that our God and Father loves freedom. Freedom to choose, freedom of expression, freedom to be who He created us to be.
If we go back the origins of humanity, we will discover that it was our Father's love of freedom that cost Him everything He had. In order for Adam and Eve to be truly free, they had to have the power to accept or reject the love that God offered them. ...For there is no other way for love to operate. Love does not control, manipulate or oppress. To live in love means that we have the freedom to stay and the freedom to leave.
Adam and Eve chose to go their own way which had devastating consequences. Not only for them but for the Godhead as well. I believe their choice to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil absolutely broke the Father's heart. The high price of their disobedience started a chain reaction in heaven that would ultimately cost the Godhead everything (Romans 8:31-32) in order to redeem what was lost in the Garden. That is how important freedom is to God.
So anything that wars against freedom in our lives is something we that we should take notice of. It should not be a surprise to us that the spirit of religion moves in opposition to freedom. It sets rules and regulations, customs and traditions, applies pressure and guilt, all in order to keep people bound up... all in the name of Jesus!
Now just because we are free does not mean we should abuse the trusted freedom that has been given to us as a gift. Galatians 5:13 tells us... For you, brothers, were called for freedom. Only don’t use your freedom for gain to the flesh, but through love be servants to one another. (WEB)
If we truly live in love, there is no way that we will abuse our freedom. There will be many times in our life when we will lay down our rights in order to serve others. As a matter of fact, I believe the more that we are convinced that we are loved, the freer we will be to be the Lord's bond servant. But it will be for love's sake that we choose to lay down our life, not in response to control, guilt or manipulation.
My prayer today is that each one of us would come into a deeper revelation of freedom than we have ever had before. My hope is that we would all be free from all of the 'shoulds' that would keep us in bondage in our life. May we see that Jesus died on a cross so that we could live a free life. Free from sin, free from shame, free from condemnation... Free to be who He created us to be!
May the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation (Ephesians 1:17-18) show us today the true heart of our Heavenly Father so that we would know His love in its truest form. He doesn't control us, He doesn't manipulate us or abuse us. His love for us is so pure and so self-sacrificing (1 Corinthians 13:4-8), that we are free to come and we are free to go. Just as the loving father in the Prodigal Son story allowed his younger son to leave his house and take his inheritance with him, our Father entrusts us with the same choices.
It is true that at times in our lives we may abuse this sacred trust of freedom. Because we are free to come and go, sometimes we may choose to live outside of our Father's house. Sometimes we may choose to disobey the loving voice of the Spirit and wallow in the pigpen of our own making. But even then, even in our darkest times, our Father keeps on loving us... Waiting and watching for our return.
The truth is that we are no less loved in the pigpen then we are in the finest sanctuary. Religion might try and convince us otherwise, but the glorious truth of the gospel is that we were loved when we were powerless, we were loved when we were sinners and we were loved when we were enemies of God (Romans 5:6-10). It is simply not possible to overstate the love that our Father has for us.
That is not to say that there aren't consequences to our actions because in any loving relationship there are always ripple effects to the way we treat each other. When we open our hearts up to love, we can hurt others and we can get hurt ourselves. There is great risk and there is great reward. Both come by choice. The reality is though, that if we aren't free to choose, then we aren't free to love.
That is why our freedom is so important to God. He wants us to love Him because we choose to love Him, not because we have to. I believe that when we present our bodies voluntarily as living sacrifices to God (Romans 12:1), it is an act of worship that truly touches His heart. For it is the free-will offering of our hearts that is the greatest gift we can give Him.
So I pray that each one of us would take the freedom that our Big Brother secured for us seriously and not be yoked to anything that would enslave us. As Paul wrote in Galatians 5:1... 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. (NIV)
So if you are finding yourself entangled again with the subtle yokes that slavery wants you to wear, may you have the courage to throw off everything that hinders you from being free so that you can run your unique race (Hebrews 12:1). And as you run unfettered and unaffected by the yoke of religion, may you be aware that all creation is waiting to experience the glorious liberty that Christ has secured on your behalf (Romans 8:19-21).
And as we all continue to learn what it means to live in the love that God has for us (1 John 4:16), may we find many creative ways to express our love to our Heavenly Dad in our sonship, servanthood and sacrifice. Not because we have to, but simply because we choose to. After all, whom the Son sets free is free indeed!
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (NIV)