Following Freedom

>When did doing daily devotions and having a daily prayer journal become the standard by which we can declare ourselves “maturing in Christ”?

When did reading the Bible become the only valid way a person can know the heart of God?

When did going to a church and signing a covenant make a person an actual member of the body of Christ?

When did inviting people over and sharing the love of Jesus and maybe talking about Him stop being a church activity/service?

When did loving and honoring my children the way God would have me to not count as much as teaching Sunday school as a ministry for the Kingdom?

And why is my money only considered a true tithe when it’s been logged in a Church record book somewhere and can count as a “religious” tax-deduction?

Jesus came to set me FREE! Not just free from the bondage of sin, but free from the tyranny of religion as well. He came to set me free from the judgments of man and humanity’s narrow-mindedness of the Sacred. Christ came to deliver a message that says worshiping God is wide open to all who believe that He Is, and put their trust in Him. I am free to please God in any number of ways.

And not just me, all of us.

Look at Genesis. In that book alone are a host of big names–men who were considered great men and founding fathers of Faith–Abraham, Noah, Melchizedek, Isaac, Joseph, and even Jacob. They didn’t have the Bible. They didn’t have Sunday church services. The catechism wasn’t yet instituted. It’s even unlikely that a sabbath was observed. Let’s not forget baptism, communion, and confession–probably not staples in their ancient fellowship with God.

So, without all the things that usually constitute a good Christian faith today, how did they find, hear from, and worship the Lord? Is it possible that I can truly have an encounter and an ongoing relationship with the Almighty outside the church, without the Bible, and apart from other believers? Some would say, “Unlikely.” Others would say, “Impossible.” And more than a handful would tell me I’m condemned to hell and not bat an eye.

Now, I am in no way encouraging people to stop reading their Bibles, have their names erased from church membership rosters, and cut off their support to their local churches and the pastors that serve them. I’m not telling people to stop listening to Christian radio and to quit buying Christian books and bible study guides. All these things are beneficial and serve a purpose, but when these are things we do and have that determine our place in the Kingdom, then we may find ourselves completely misplaced.

Christ defines Christianity, not the other way around. I am free to stop adhering to Christianity so long as I continue to seek Christ. My fellowship within Christianity doesn’t define my followship; however, I can’t have followship without fellowship–fellowship with God and fellowship with others. But fellowship isn’t the only thing that constitutes a relationship with The Divine.

I was made to know God and to display His glory. I can honor Him by recognizing all that He has done and all that He continues to do, in creation, in humanity, and believing that He’s doing things in realms far beyond me. He’s God, why not!

I worship Him by emulating aspects of His character in everyday life like choosing to take a breath of peace and biting my tongue before saying something that will likely cause discord and disruption; choosing to give forgiveness to someone who doesn’t seem deserving and who continues to hurt others without remorse or apology; making sure that I set aside specific time to rest and rejuvenate and not spend all my time working or planning or strategizing; and greeting strangers as though they were friends because in God’s world, no one is relegated to “stranger”, all are loved as friends.

We were created to work. We were created to create. We were created to laugh. We were created to enjoy. We were created to think. The created force and purpose within humanity has not changed; therefore, if we participate in any of these activities and a plethora more, then we are doing and being what God created us to do and be. But here’s the important distinction: my participation in laughing and learning and loving only becomes worship when I acknowledge God’s role in those things.

For example, let’s say you’re a modern-day Julia Child. You love good food and fully delight in the preparation and sharing of a well-cooked meal. Cooking is your gift. You couldn’t express a greater joy if you were preparing depositions, fighting house fires, or mending broken bones. You were created to do great things with food. So, in a basic sense, God gets some pleasure by seeing you come into your own exactly as He created you. But He gets the glory and worship when you thank Him for the gift, the joy, the ability, the freedom to create such fantastic culinary delights. He gets the honor when you invite Him into the process. So . . . your invitation and acknowledgement of the Lord’s role turns a mouth-watering meal into an expression of worship.

Cooking all the time doesn’t make up for focused, one-on-one time with the Lord through prayer or even reading the Bible. But neither does reading the Bible hours on end make up for simply being the you He created you to be and doing the things that most come naturally.

When following Jesus becomes too prescribed and systematized, then it means that we are following something or someone other than Christ. Followship is fluid, and fluidity is freeing! How we follow the Saviour is not set-in-stone. We don’t have to do it the way certain modern heroes do it. We don’t have to vote a specific way or abstain from some things that others do (such as TV, dancing, beer, makeup, eating meat on Fridays, whatever). We simply have to lean into Jesus and let Him lead.

And we begin to see the benefits if we trust that He is big enough to take care of whatever comes up. He’s big enough to fix our hearts and our minds. He’s big enough to silence the fears that plague us. He’s strong enough to keep us and gentle enough to heal us. He’s good and we can trust Him. And if we happen to stumble or run away, He’s adept enough to find us, call us back to Himself, and guide us again into places prepared specifically for each one of us.

I can only be me on this journey with He. In that truth I find comfort and peace and freedom. The moment I start adding to it, I get bogged down and my joy dissipates. I lose my freedom. My moment on this earth is too short not to lift my face to heaven and feel the fullness of His radiance shine down on me. I aim to enjoy every moment on this planet I call home and to rest in the truth of who He is. Anything else is a waste of time!

“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you are free indeed.” ~ John 8:36

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” ~ Romans 8:1-2

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” ~ Galatians 5:1


One Response to “Following Freedom”
  1. John Trotter says:

    been a while since I've read some of your posts. This is great. Earl Crep's book "Off Road Spiritual Disciplines" kinda reflect a lot of your thoughts. great thoughts – we're so dumb for havig only 2 portals (bible reading and focused prayer) for finding and knowing God

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