There are these moments in life when you are so changed that you know there is never any going back. Many of these moments for me were knowing that I was “ruined” for Jesus; I had tasted life with Him and I could never again be satisfied without Him – at times I’ve tried, but everything is dull, pointless, and lacking luster without Him.
It’s been coming to a head for quite a while, and I’ve thought I was already there, but this week, a change happened in my heart that can never be undone.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made you free, and do not be entangled again by a yoke or bondage.” –Galations 5:1
Do you know what kind of bondage Paul is talking about in this passage? Religious and legalistic bondage, and friends, I was bound. I had all these rules and rituals, and even though I had a relationship with Jesus I couldn’t seem to measure up and do the “right” thing. I felt guilty all the time and would try to hide from God because I didn’t want to try and I felt guilty for failing. And then when I did feel strong enough to do the right thing, I felt like I needed to preach at everyone else because I didn’t want them to make me fall backward. Sometimes I would isolate myself because there was no one perfect enough to measure up to this standard I had set for myself. I was exhausted. I felt defeated. I was wrong.
Thankfully, God has placed people in my life that know Him and serve Him and are able to accept others right where they are…they somehow walk in truth without having to talk about it all the time. For years I have been observing, trying to figure out what it was that was different. How could they be around other “sinners” without stumbling? How did they have so much freedom and life and joy and still follow the Bible?
I was so wrong about what life with Christ looks like. I was so wrong about how to approach righteousness. I was so wrong about how to reach the world. How could I know our God and be so wrong? I don’t know, but thankfully He broke through to my heart and He has set me free, there has been a transformation and friends, I think I might be baptized again!
Life in Christ is all freedom, and when you walk with Christ you ebb and flow as He does. If you chose to do something or not to do something it is out of complete confidence in the betterment of your life, not out of some “duty”. And even better, when you walk with Him, He will literally change your desires to line up with His, and you can walk in peace and confidence.
My friend, who has spent the last week in Greece, learning and being a voice for those in human trafficking, shared this quote in her blog about the trip.
“Preach the gospel always! When necessary, use words.”
I looked up this quote and it is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. I thought about my friend, who most definitely lives out this quote. She is characterized by her generosity and service. And there are many people that are nice and help others, but a time or two God has opened the doors for us to have conversations, and I realized the spiritual depth that she has as well. But she lives out her faith, and loves on people so that they want to know what is different about her, and I love that.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for this hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” -1Peter 3:15
God just rocked my heart this week, that I have the freedom to do anything – He has given it to me, and I choose Him! In Him I have freedom, and I want to love on others. I want to live out the love and joy that life in Christ offers, not preach about condemnation if you don’t measure up. We can never measure up, but thankfully Jesus died on the cross to atone for our sins, and God raised Him to life for victory over our sinful nature, and when we accept Him we receive the Holy Spirit – a spirit of power and wisdom that produces kindness and strength and gentleness and patience and we are literally changed from the inside out to become who we were meant to be – He transforms us into His likeness.
I just want to shout it from the rooftops – God is so good, and I am free!