Functioning In Freedom
The subject of living in freedom could not be covered in a simple blog post, but I wanted to continue from my post about shame yesterday. We have two choices to respond from, shame or freedom. The gospel is freedom and Jesus portrayed living in freedom best. Have you ever felt you had two choices when making a decision, but one was so far out of reach because of your circumstances or relationships? Freedom affords us choices, shame affords us a single choice and eventually shame will cover the presence of freedom, as if it were not available.
Our response to the call of God is a great example of living in freedom. For instance, Moses, was called back to deliver the Jewish people out of the hands of Egypt. When he was confronted by the burning bush and found out it was God, here was his response:
Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:10-11 ESV
Moses was quick to identify himself before the Lord in verse 4, but he then proceeded to question and delay the proper response to God not just once, but four times. He asked God to send someone else and shame has that effect on us. We tell God that it cannot be us He would use, but it must be someone else who is more prepared, more outgoing, better dressed, has more money, and it goes on.
So what does a freedom response look like? Jesus was a pure example of freedom, but there are two instances we can be encouraged by. First, Jesus defended the adulterous woman in John 8:1-11, and from what we know, the woman was clearly adulterous. When Jesus was tested by the crowd and religious leaders about what should have been done, Jesus responded in freedom. You see, freedom is not concerned with just your own welfare, it is concerned about others just as much. Our concern for others should be Christ-like, not performance-driven, trying to win the hearts of men with your decisions and actions. Jesus wrote something on the ground with his finger twice and challenged anyone without sin to cast the first stone. Everyone left and Jesus challenged the woman to “go and sin no more.”
Freedom allows you and I to see the pain or indecision of another and give them encouragement and grace. It allows us to have a Jesus-like response in the face of accusation and hostility. Jesus gave us another great example in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was going to die on a cross and he knew the coming future all too well. When faced with the stress of the cross, Jesus said this:
“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” – Luke 22:42
That is a prayer of freedom. Freedom is not the ability to make whatever decision you want despite the consequences to you or others. Freedom is the ability to make the right decision free from shame and clouded judgment. Freedom is us truly identifying with Christ and being free from the shackles that sin puts us in. Shame reminds us that we are sinners with no hope, freedom proclaims that Jesus is risen and at the right hand God, interceding for us before the Father. (Romans 8:34)
Not every Christian is free from shame, most of us will struggle with it in some capacity from time to time. Our freedom is promised and your relationship with Jesus affords it to you.