Declaring Independence

7-3-16

This weekend, our country celebrates our freedom and the people who have sacrificed to make it possible. It truly is a blessing to live in this nation with the freedoms we have. Today I’d like us to think a little about our spiritual freedom.

John 8:36 says, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” Once we are members of Christ’s church, we are spiritually free. Everyone has sinned, but becoming a Christian cleanses us from our sin. “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin” (Romans 6:6-7).
However, we will continue to mess up. What we don’t want to do is return to a life of serving sin. Galatians 5:1 teaches, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Getting caught up in sin weighs us down. It hinders us from doing what we want to do and chisels away at our desire to make good choices.
Take a minute to consider how it felt when you first became a Christian. It’s liberating to know that everything you have done wrong is gone in God’s eyes. You can start completely fresh, and the desire to live a clean life is so strong you can almost taste it.
Now think about how you’ve felt spiritually in the past month. Maybe, hopefully, you’ve grown in some ways. If so, that’s fantastic. But is there anything that doesn’t feel as right in your life now? Maybe there are sins you struggle with that are hard to shake.
What about anger? Just being angry isn’t a sin. Holding on to it is. Then it grows, blackens, and festers. It becomes bitterness. Ever notice that you snap at people when you don’t intend to? Maybe there is anger you aren’t dealing appropriately with, whether or not it is directed at that person. Never forget that we are to season all our dealings with love. A harsh word is worse than no word at all.
Covetousness is a struggle for a lot of us. It’s easy to work hard day in and day out, just make ends meet with little to spare, and then look at what other people are able to do or get. Don’t hold on to those feelings. Remember that we have the greatest blessing of all in the church.
Could it be that fear is tying you down? This comes in many forms. Fear for our nation, finances, health, family and friends, and maybe our own spiritual well-being. Talk to God about your fear and don’t let it paralyze you.
Possibly there’s something else that you’re struggling with. Whatever it is, put a name to it and develop a strategy to purify your life from it. Make sure to include asking the Lord for help. Removing something without putting something back in its place tends to create a vacuum that is ripe pickings for Satan to plant another vice.
Let’s never take our spiritual freedom for granted. Praise be to God that we don’t have to be swept up in the cycle of sin. May we always take the sacrifice of Christ seriously and strive to live up to it.
May the Lord bless and keep you,
Heather

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