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Christian Living

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Grin and Grow with Kathy 08/26/15

Find True Freedom

willis-freedom4

STORY: LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL

As a child I used to skip over the cracks in sidewalks and sing the song, “Step on a crack, break my mother’s back.” I certainly did not want my mom’s back to break. Now isn’t that silly? (Not the part of wishing ill of my mother, but of thinking it could actually happen!) There are some traditions that don’t make sense.

But there’s another crack that has a noble tradition. The liberty bell is a vivid reminder that while there may be cracks and flaws in the system, it still holds up over the passage of time. Our nation promises liberty and justice for all. Liberty means we can celebrate our freedom, liberated from an old world government. Justice means the laws of the land are fair and equitable. 

America is filled with hardworking, God-fearing men and women who love their country. Every day of the year could be a flag-waving day. They show their love for other citizens through their friendliness and their thoughtfulness. 

I heard a pastor say that as much as we love to celebrate our country’s independence, there was a day about 1775 years before our country was born when true independence occurred. God is the supreme Justice of the Peace. He offers a plan of redemption. Just as men and women shed blood so that our nation might be born, Christ shed His blood on the cross so that we might be reborn. When we were born into this country we were automatically given the gift of citizenship. When we are born into God’s family, we are automatically given gifts to further HIS kingdom. Because of Christ’s selfless act, we can find liberation from the bondage of sin and self. And His redemption plan is offered to everyone—liberty and justice for all who receive it.

STUDY: ACTIONS OF FREEDOM

Believing Leads to Freedom

Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises? Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ. Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed. Galatians 3:21-23 NLT

  • The law points out our need for a Savior, showing us that we are __________ of sin. What does it feel like to be a prisoner?
  • According to this passage, how do we receive God’s promise of freedom?
  • We’re reminded that while prisoners, we were placed under guard by the law. The NLT goes on to describe this captivity as ______________ _____________. 
  • God keeps a close guard on us before we come to faith in Jesus and receive His gift of salvation.

The Partners of Freedom

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. Colossians 1:11-14 NLT

  • Paul prays the Colossians grow in many virtues. These desired virtues are wonderful partners of freedom. When freedom comes, it comes with friends! Look at some of the key words in this passage. (Strength, Endurance, Patience, Joy, Gratitude, Inheritance, Rescue, Forgiveness.) 
  • When we are strengthened with all God’s glorious power, what two very necessary (and futile to work up on our own) virtues will come with it?
  • When we’re filled with joy, what oozes out? Joy and gratitude are certainly found when we experience freedom, aren’t they?
  • God enables those who receive this freedom to share what with His people? Where do His people live?
  • What has God rescued us from?
  • Where does God transfer us to?
  • What two acts of love did His Son do for us?

Live and Serve in Freedom 

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13 NLT

  • According to this passage we are called to _____ __ __________.
  • Some Christians used their newfound freedom to justify not having to live by the moral law. They thought they had found a way to live in the “best of both worlds.” Paul warned them not to use their freedom to satisfy their sinful nature.
  • What is it we get to use our freedom for? This is one of those oxymoron type concepts. How can a person serve and be free? It is because of our freedom, and the joy it brings that we are motivated in love to make sure the needs of others are met.

STEPS: Actions of Freedom

1. Feeling impatient? Ask God to strengthen you by His glorious power. Seek out a situation where you can exercise patience. (Yes, I know we try to avoid these situations!)

2. Is it hard to endure? Ask God to fill you with His joy. Walk around your house and thank God for each thing. Then look at your pictures and thank God for each person. Look at your schedule and thank God for each opportunity. Look at your checkbook and thank God for His provision.

3. Tempted to please self? Look for someone who has a need you can meet and come up with a specific plan to show that person love by serving him or her in some way. 

Copyright © 2015 Kathy Carlton Willis, used with permission.

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