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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 08/13/15

The Light of Freedom

STORY: A Veteran’s Independence

Recently I visited the temporary motel residence of a US military veteran to deliver some assistance they requested. It was the worst motel in town—set up for long-term use for those who can’t afford better. Maybe they’re transient or in-between jobs or on a waiting list to get into a rental. It’s located in one of the questionable spots in town. Illegal activity (prostitutes, drugs, violence). Nasty appearance.

Outside the door we spotted the base of an electric scooter. We knocked and heard a man yell, “Come in.” We tentatively opened the door—hesitant to walk in without someone actually opening the door from the inside. Oh, my! What we observed broke my heart! There was a man with his back to us in a wheelchair, talking on the phone to home health physical therapy. He had one amputated leg and he’s due for another one soon. Once off the phone, he renovated used Hot Wheels by coloring in the scratched paint with different magic markers. 

The motel room had been converted to their “home.” It was in such bad shape. Makeshift cooking and food area. A run down bed. A dilapidated dresser. And a make-do desk for their activity center. All their belongings crammed into this one room. Not a sanitary environment. But, the best this couple could manage due to their challenging situations.

Then the woman who called us for help rolled over from the other side of the room—also in a wheelchair. Even with the dismal conditions and circumstances, she had a smile on her face and gratitude in her heart. She came to the door to thank us for the bag we delivered and told us her story. A stroke paralyzed her last year and she rehabbed her way back to modified independence. 

They hadn’t asked for money. They didn’t scam us. They just needed a little help. We were blessed to deliver what they requested, but it ended up not being about the items she needed.

And it crushed my heart to think this is the predicament so many of our military veterans are in.

We got to shine Christ on them. They reflected a joy not based on their circumstances. Their grins bubbled from the inside and landed on their faces. And jumped over to land on our faces too! A renewed appreciation for the price of freedom flowed through my veins, pumping my heart to overflowing. They could no longer walk, but they showed us how to run in a heart freedom that didn’t require properly functioning legs.

STUDY: Walk/Run in Freedom

Walk in freedom

I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments. Psalm 119:45

One way we can walk in that freedom of the heart is when we devote ourselves to what? Often when the Psalms talk about “the commandments,” they mean what we know now as parts of the Old Testament. They shared what they knew of God’s Word with each new generation. Word of mouth spread the stories and Bible principles even before it was all compiled and printed as the Bible we know it. So they were encouraged to be devoted to all of the Bible they knew of at the time. We are blessed to have the opportunity to be devoted to the full Bible. And what happens when we do? We will walk in _________.

Come out from the Prison and Darkness

I will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out in freedom,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Come into the light.’ They will be my sheep, grazing in green pastures and on hills that were previously bare. Isaiah 49:9

Look at the contrast here. In the darkness (before we come to freedom in Christ) we are like prisoners. But what happens when we come into the Light? It might seem odd to be compared to sheep. But when the Lord is our Shepherd, He will look after our needs. Free range sheep, grazing where we want to on those beautiful green pastures and hills. And look at that last phrase—don’t let it get lost. Those hills were previously ____. God fills in the bare spots of our lives when we walk in the Light of His freedom.

Run well—follow truth

You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! Galatians 5:7-9

When we run the race God has called us to, His freedom fuels us. One requirement. We must follow truth. When we follow false teaching, we are hindered from running the race well. To what does Paul compare the effects of false teaching?

STEPS: Walking in Freedom

1. Want to walk in freedom? Be devoted to God’s Word. If we are devoted, the dictionary says we will be: zealous or ardent in attachment, loyalty, or affection.

2. In the dark? Come into the Light. God’s Word is a lamp at our feet (low beams) and a light (high beams) to illuminate the way up ahead.

3. Imprisoned? It takes an active choice to leave what is holding you back so you can walk into the blessing of God’s presence as your Shepherd.

4. Did you start out running the race well but now you’re floundering? Be sure your fuel comes from following truth and not false teachings. Evaluate how much you seek truth, learn truth, and honor truth. Not just in your heart, but with your words and your deeds.

5. Affected by the yeast of false teaching? Rather than allowing it to bloom in you, separate from the yeast and find truth again. Then you can return to run well in the race of freedom. 

 

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