Friday, April 7, 2017

What is Freedom?

What do we mean when we talk about freedom?

Why do we see it as something we should purcuse?

What difference does it make in our lives?

These are questions that have been running though my mind the last few days. Today, April 7, is exactly four years since I left the first Set Free weekend (formerly called Encounter God), I would go to.

I left that weekend feeling like I had been finally freed from so many things. I had. But, I had also just begun a journey. If the freedom found in the moment is actually going to last, then we have to change the way we walk. We have to learn to live differently.

That's what these last four years have been about for me. Learning to live differently. As I look back on them, I would say they've been some of the years and they've been some of the hardest years.

They've been the best because of the intimacy of my relationship with God. That intimacy has made it possible to learn to walk differently. I've learned to better listen for God's voice and of the importance of confession and repentance in the moment I realize I've gotten off course.

They've been some of the hardest years because of some of the things I've walked through personally and with my family. Some of it, I'm still walking through now. And often the best and the hardest times have been at exactly the same time.

I've learned that finding freedom doesn't mean life is instantly difference or easier. And it doesn't necessarily get easier - what changes is how we walk through the hard times. Clinging more tightly to Jesus, rather than trying to fond our own way. The things we thought it was impossible to survive, we not only survive, but come out the other side stronger and in a deeper relationship with God.

In John 8:36 Jesus says, "So if he Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." Jesus is the One who brings us freedom. He declares this purpose of His mission on earth in Luke 4:16-21 when He quoted the prophet Isaiah and stated that this Scripture was fulfilled in the hearing of those present in the synagogue that day. Jesus came to bring freedom. That's why we pursue it, desire it.

It is only through freedom in Christ that we are able to begin to live the life God intended for us. We have to be willing to step into a process of learning to live differently.

As I reflect on four years of being intentionally on this journey, I'm realizing it began long before I went to that first Set Free. But, it became more intentional after I went to a Set Free. It was there that I was introduced to a way of living intentionally differently that was clear. And it's a journey I don't want to stop.

A song by Jeremy Camp was the first song I heard as I drove away from that first weekend, and the lyrics of it have become so fitting - particularly the chorus - of what I want to say and how I want to live.

Free (by Jeremy Camp)
And I am free
And I am free
My sin was wrapped around me
Trying to drown me
You have set me free
And I am free
And I am free
The chains that held me tightly
Are finally lifting
You took that weight from me
Now I'm free

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