Citizens in many countries believe they are free because their governments allow them to worship, speak, and travel as they desire. Yet despite the liberties a constitution may guarantee, countless people from those lands live in bondage. That’s because true freedom isn’t something that can be legislated. Rather, it is the ability to live a righteous life in the mercy, grace, goodness, and power of God.
True freedom means:
• Through Jesus, we are redeemed from bondage to sin and its consequences.
• Our hope is secure.
• God has enabled us to become all that He intended.
• Through grace, Christ has freed us to relate to one another in a godly fashion.
Is anything hindering God’s work in your life or interfering with your peace and contentment? Understand that the Christian life is a paradox: We are set free from bondage to sin yet choose to be bondslaves of Jesus.
Only when we fully surrender and sacrifice to Him can we truly live in freedom.
God loves the sound of your voice—always! God never places you on hold or tells you to call again later. He doesn’t hide when you call. He hears your prayers. He heard mine last night when I asked Him to heal my sore back. When I woke this morning my back was healed.
For that reason “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). With this verse the apostle calls us to take action against anxiety. We tell God exactly what we want. We pray the particulars of our problems.
What Jesus said to the blind man, he says to us. “What do you want me to do for you?” (Luke 18:41 NIV). One would think the answer would be obvious. When a sightless man requests Jesus’ help, isn’t it apparent what he needs? Yet Jesus wanted to hear the man articulate his specific requests. He wants the same from us. “Let your requests be made known to God!”
In the book, The Dance of Hope, Bill Frey remembers the day he tried to pull a stump out of the Georgia dirt. One of his chores as a twelve year old was to search for stumps of pine trees that had been cut down and chop them into kindling. But there was one root system he just couldn’t pull out of the ground. He was still struggling when his father came over to watch.
“I think I see your problem,” his dad said.
“What’s that?” Bill asked.
“You’re not using all your strength.” Bill exploded and told him how hard he’d been working.
“No,” his Father said, “You’re not using all your strength.”
When Bill cooled down, he asked his Father what he meant.
He said, “You haven’t asked me to help you.”
You don’t have to do it alone! Present the challenge to your Father—ask for help! Will he solve the issue? Yes, he will.
How many disasters have been averted because one person refused to buckle under the strain? It’s this kind of composure Paul is summoning when he says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything…” (Philippians 4:5-6 NIV).
The Greek word translated here as gentleness describes a temperament that’s seasoned and mature. It envisions an attitude fitting to the occasion, levelheaded and tempered. This gentleness is evident to all. Family members take note. Your friends sense a difference. Coworkers benefit from it.
The gentle person is sober minded and clear thinking. The contagiously calm person is the one who reminds others, “God is in control.” Pursue this gentleness. The Lord is near– you are not alone. You may feel alone. You may think you’re alone. But there is never a moment in which you face life without help. God is near—be anxious for nothing!
I shall walk in freedom, for I have sought your precepts. (Psalm 119:45)
An essential element of joy is freedom. None of us would be happy if we were not free from what we hate and free for what we love.
And where do we find true freedom? Psalm 119:45 says, “I shall walk in freedom, for I have sought your precepts.”
The picture is one of open spaces. The Word frees us from smallness of mind (1 Kings 4:29) and from threatening confinements (Psalm 18:19).
Jesus says, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). The freedom he has in mind is freedom from the slavery of sin (verse 34). Or, to put it positively, it is freedom for holiness.
The promises of God’s grace provide the power that makes the demands of God’s holiness an experience of freedom rather than fear. Peter described the freeing power of God’s promises like this: “Through [his precious and very great promises] you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire” (2 Peter 1:4).
In other words, when we trust the promises of God, we sever the root of corruption by the power of a superior promise.
How crucial is the Word that breaks the power of counterfeit pleasures! And how vigilant we should be to light our paths and load our hearts with the Word of God!
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (verse 11; cf. verse 9).
The Word of God is not a trifle; it is a matter of life and death. If you treat the Scriptures as a trifle or as empty words, you forfeit life.
Even our physical life depends on God’s Word, because by his Word we were created (Psalm 33:6; Hebrews 11:3) and “He upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3).
Our spiritual life begins by the Word of God: “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth” (James 1:18). “You have been born again . . . through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).
Not only do we begin to live by God’s Word, but we also go on living by God’s Word: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3).
Our physical life is created and upheld by the Word of God, and our spiritual life is quickened and sustained by the Word of God. How many stories could be gathered to bear witness to the life-giving power of the Word of God!
Indeed, the Bible is “no empty word for you” — it is your life! The foundation of all joy is life. Nothing is more fundamental than sheer existence — our creation and our preservation.
All this is owing to the Word of God’s power. By that same power, he has spoken in Scripture for the creation and sustenance of our spiritual life. Therefore, the Bible is no empty word, but is your very life — the kindling of your joy!