Monthly Archives: June 2016

Enslaved To My Freedom

“FREEEEDOOOM” Many of you can hear Mel Gibson’s cry at the end of “Braveheart” just in reading that word. Freedom is something that we all long for. Cowboys long for the freedom of the open range, bikers the open road, sailors the open sea. But I don’t think many of us truly understand what it means to be free. I would suggest that the only real freedom we have is to the freedom to choose that to which we will be bound. Once we have made that choice we are enslaved to the restrictions and boundaries inherent in that choice.

To use my three examples the cowboy is enslaved by the limitations of his horse. He can only go where and as far as the horse can take him. He is enslaved to the feeding and watering of his horse. The biker is enslaved to the road and the availability and resources to purchase gas. He is enslaved to the physics of riding on two wheels. The sailor is restricted to the water and is a slave to the power of the wind and the waves.

At best freedom is the ability to choose what I will be enslaved to.

Galatians 5 makes this very point. “It is for freedom that you have been made free.” Sounds like a riddle but what he’s talking about is the fact that through faith in what Jesus has done for us we are no longer slaves to following the laws of the Old Testament. Jesus did it all for us. But he goes on to say in verse 13 that we shouldn’t use that freedom to serve ourselves. Why not? Because then I become a slave to my own passions and drives and lusts. We have all known self-centered people, and ultimately they will destroy themselves and others.

Instead, verse 13 goes on, serve one another in love. It’s almost counter intuitive. When I choose to use my freedom to become the servant of others is when I truly find what I always imagined freedom would be. That’s the way God designed us to function. Because it’s the way he functions.

“(Jesus) had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death — and the worst kind of death at that: a crucifixion. Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth — even those long ago dead and buried — will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11 MSG)


You’ll Head Where You Look

Most of us have something that just keeps tripping us up.  Maybe it’s your temper, or lying, or pornography, or gossip, or any number of other sin.  We confess it to God and determine we’re never going to do that again and then we do anyway.  Maybe your problem is that you’re focusing on not sinning instead of where your focus should be.

In Galatians 2:19 Paul says that he died to the law so that he could live for God. Eugene Petersen puts it this way: “I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man.” (MSG) But how does not focusing on “the rules” help me to keep them?

The first thing to understand what Paul goes on to say in verse 20 that by faith he died with Christ and that now Jesus lives his life through Paul.  So the focus isn’t on the rules, it’s on knowing Jesus.  Let me illustrate to help understand how that works.

It’s rather embarrassing to admit, but last week I wiped out on my motorcycle.  It’s embarrassing because it was a stupid rookie mistake.  I was in the Okanagan riding on a beautiful little narrow winding road with gorgeous scenery and some fun tight corners.

There was a car behind me that I allowed to push me a little faster than I should have been going.  My first rookie mistake.  Then I came upon a sudden sharp right hand curve with two motorcycles coming the other way.  Knowing I was going faster than I should have been I was concerned about drifting into their lane and that’s when I made my critical mistake.

The adage in biking is look towards where you want to go not at what you want to avoid.  This is because you will go where you look.  Well I choked and looked at the bikes I wanted to avoid and that’s exactly where I went.  When I tried to compensate I leaned too far in and my foot peg caught and down I went.  By the grace of God I slid right between the two and into the small ditch.

Neither I nor the bike were too much the worse for wear, some mostly cosmetic damage to both of us, but that same principle is true in the spiritual realm.  Where you focus is where you’ll head.  If you focus on keeping the rules it’ll be your effort and you will crash.  If you focus on knowing and desiring Jesus he will live his life through you often without you even realizing.