A theme in my life recently has been the Freedom that I have in Christ. It’s been showing up in so many places: my Bible study, personal reading, conversations with close friends, interactions with people I don’t even know online, sermons, our church small group, and the list goes on. This is, of course, what often happens when the Spirit is trying to teach me something. He makes it pretty hard to miss, or avoid.
Fortunately this time around, this is a lesson I have no desire to avoid, and am actually willingly embracing. I mean, Freedom in Christ, right?! It is pretty amazing.
And I wonder how I’ve missed it all these years.
I became a follower of Jesus at a young age. I grew up in a strong and loving Christian family. My parents both love Jesus, we went to church every Sunday, I attended an evangelical Christian college, and worked in youth outreach ministry. I knew what it meant to be a Christian, and I was trying to be the best Christian I could be.
But somewhere along the way, the Good News of Jesus got lost in all of that trying, and instead of living in the Freedom that Christ offers I was actually living in fear.
I don’t think it was intentional, but this message of fear is one that was deeply ingrained in my faith from all of the different places and people that taught me about what it means to be a Christian.
Over the past several months, Jesus has been breaking down these walls of fear that had been built up in my life, and replacing them with His glorious Freedom. It is really hard for me to describe in words what an astounding change this has made in my faith and in my life.
God in the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, initiates a relationship with us. It is in this relationship with our Creator God that we find our identity and purpose for life. When we live out of our identity as God’s precious sons and daughters we can find the freedom that He offers us through His Son. The Spirit works in our lives to grow us and shape us and change us more and more into the image of Christ. And it is a beautiful, although often painful, thing.
Now that some of these walls of fear have begun to break down, I can see with clearer eyes this same fear I used to hold rearing it’s ugly head in other people’s lives and it grieves my heart. I know this is not what God has intended for us.
Of course, there is still much work to be done in my own heart and life, and so I’m not sharing this to make anyone feel guilty about the fear they may be living in. In fact, maybe this post is just for me. Just a way of me working through my own knowledge and understanding of what I am learning, another way for me to grow into this Freedom and out of the fear. But maybe, someone needs to hear these words too and begin to embrace the radical Freedom of Christ in their own life.
What it looks like to move from Fear to Freedom in Christ
Fear has a list of do’s and don’ts you need to check off to be a Christian. Freedom says, “Come follow me.”
Fear puts up fences to keep others out. Freedom builds wells to draw others in.
Fear keeps faith inside neat little boxes. Freedom preaches good news for the poor, binds up the brokenhearted, proclaims freedom for the prisoners, and releases the oppressed.
Fear focuses on failures. Freedom finds joy in trial and struggle.
Fear flaunts itself as safety, but Freedom is sacredly terrifying.
Fear ties up heavy loads and puts them on people’s shoulders. Freedom says, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Fear arrogantly holds on tightly with closed fists and white knuckles. Freedom humbly offers open palms in surrender.
Fear sees in black and white. Freedom paints in strokes of every color, and often gray.
Fear says, “Us against them.” Freedom says, “Love your neighbor as yourself, and love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
Fear focuses on sin and devastation. Freedom sees the fruits of a new life and new creation in Christ.
With all of this, I am so humbled because I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have this all figured out. God is leading me on this journey, and I am learning to live in Freedom and not fear. I am reading the Bible with new eyes. As if scales have been removed from my eyes and I’m reading these words of Freedom for the first time.
And through it all, Christ is leading me, and all I want to do is run after Him.
Now the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17
Are you living out of fear or freedom? Do you resonate with any of these comparisons?