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Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence from Freedom

A few years ago I went on a mission’s trip to London, England and Morocco. And we arrived on the 3rd of July and it just so happen that the 4th was on a Sunday. At the service we attended the pastor gave a special welcome to those from the USA and said he hoped we understood that they were not too fond on celebrating this day as much as Americans would which brought a lot of laughter. But then he added what irony for a nation that fought for Independence has now seemed to turn to almost total dependence on self. And American seems to seek the same independence but now its away from God. And in tears he prayed for forgiveness for any wrong feelings towards this nation and he thank God for its spiritual leaders in Billy Graham, Charles Stanley, Josh McDowell. Bill Bright (just to name a few). That memory always comes back to every 4th. And its easy for me to recall at the same time I know I have a need for God in my life and yet at the same time I fight for this independence (from God) and this fight is with my apathy,anger,complaining,unthankfulness, and pride, etc.. Just a short “ramble” for the 4th. In closing here are thoughts on freedom and living from Relevant magazine.The truth is that most people seek eternal qualities or attributes through temporal avenues, something or someone outside ourselves. We think, “If only I … had more money … had a better job … had more success … had someone who loves me like I desire to be loved … could lose 25 pounds … could get away from all the stress … had better friends … could eat large quantities of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream without putting on weight … had a bigger house … could get a new car … was in a different church … could follow my heart’s desire … had a different family …” This is pinning our hopes for love, peace, well-being, and contentment on people and circumstances outside ourselves. Conversely, people assume its life’s circumstances preventing them from being happy.At the center of the spiritual reality Jesus called “the Kingdom of God” is freedom. Not freedom from external restraints, but freedom from internal restraints. The truth is that the only thing preventing you from experiencing the “abundant life” Jesus offered—God’s Kingdom of love, peace, well-being and contentment—is, well, YOU! You have imposed restraints upon yourself, imagining that these are keeping you from the good life. Jesus’ message is, “There is nothing preventing you. You are free to be at peace, and live a life of love in every moment."
Southwest Airlines’ tag line is, “You are now free to move about the country.” Did you catch that it’s not a freedom from something, but a freedom to do something? Jesus also offers a freedom toa freedom to live each moment in the present reality of God’s Kingdom. In other words:
You are now free to be peace even when your life circumstances unravel.
You are now free to be love even when others reject or hurt you.
You are now free to be contentment even when you’re barely making it financially.
You are now free to be the beloved of God even when people put you down.
You are now free to be compassion even when others rationalize their apathy.
You are now free to be joy even when people or circumstances disappoint you. You are now free to be grace even when others judge you.
You are now free to move about God’s Kingdom.

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