Tag Archives: bondage

Got my grace. Which way now?

It’s time to conclude yesterday’s story about the freedom & grace Jesus Christ gave us through His death.  His death fulfilled the law and removed the bondage of sin.  He won the victory for us!  However, Paul warns that we shouldn’t use the freedom we’ve been given as an opportunity to live in the flesh…in other words, we can’t just live any ol’ way we want.  We aren’t called to serve our flesh, but to walk in the Spirit.

It is when we are led by the Spirit of the Lord that we are no longer under the law because the Spirit proves it through us.  When we are led only by the flesh, we want things that are in direct opposition to the Spirit.  Here are some examples that Paul gives of things that the flesh wants:  adultery, impatience, drunkenness, fornication, envy, prostitution, idolatry, hatred, jealousy, selfish ambitions, anger, and others.  Can we be forgiven of these things?  Absolutely!  But if we simply live a lifestyle of these things then we are not being led by the Spirit, because these things are in opposition to His desires.

When we are led by the Spirit, it shows up in our lives in ways like this: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  We will bear one another’s burdens, not bite and devour one another with our words and actions, and we will love our neighbor as ourselves.

Paul said if we sow to the flesh we will reap corruption, but if we sow to the Spirit we will reap everlasting life.  In other words, after we have accepted the grace of God, it isn’t about the customs and traditions that we perform; but if we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, the evidence will come through in our lives in ways like kindness, goodness, love, self-control, etc. Every day we will have a choice to make, “Will I walk by the flesh, or by the Spirit?”  One will corrupt us, and one will point us and those around us to the Father.

I, for one, want to be led by the Spirit.  Those times when I’ve been led by my flesh have never turned out so well, and I’ve lost many an opportunity to be a witness for the Lord.  It’s time to let Him be in control.  Not only will we be able to show more love and be able to witness more, but it will take the pressure off of us, as well.  Let Him take control and lead the way.  We already know where it leads.  🙂

walking there alongside you,

jamie

Burdened under the law

The Galatian church was a church being turned away from the grace of Jesus.  Paul had taught them, they’d believed, but someone had come into their midst and caused them to believe that grace wasn’t enough.  Sound familiar?  Suddenly, they started thinking they had to begin observing the old Jewish customs again of the Passover, the Feasts, festivals, and other areas of the law.  They were even about to become circumcised.  They went back to the old ways because what they were doing wasn’t enough.  It couldn’t be enough, could it?

Paul asked them if they really believed that if they started out in the Spirit of the Lord were they were now being made perfect by what they were doing in the flesh?  He implored them, “Stand fast in the freedom by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”  Over and over, he reminded them that Jesus fulfilled the law and brought grace and victory for a reason.  He said that if we bind ourselves within the confines of the law again then Christ died for nothing.  Christ died to fulfill the law once and for all, and anyone who tells us otherwise is not of God.

That freedom doesn’t mean we should simply live or speak however we choose, however.  There is more to the story…

Tune in again tomorrow,

jamie

What was I trying to say?

Pr. 23:20:  “Do not mix with winebibbers, or with gluttonous eaters of meat.”

Last night I had a dream where I was with a small group of people who was encouraging a broken person and witnessing to them about Christ.  One of the people in our group was one of the Pastor’s from my church.  We wound up at a bar, which was the place where that person was most comfortable.  And then, my Pastor ordered shots for us all.

I wasn’t the least bit uncomfortable being in the bar, but when my Pastor ordered us shots and then eagerly drank his, I was worried that he was crossing a dangerous line.   (Reminder…this was only a dream)

We were called to tell others about Christ.  Paul said that he made himself a servant to all, that he might win the more.  To the Jews he became as a Jew, to those who were weak he became as one weak, etc.  (1 Cor. 9:20-23)  He said, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.  Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.”

Paul did what it took to witness; however, this same man also reminds us in the chapter before to be cautious of our liberties in Christ.  He tells us that our decisions could cause a weaker brother could stumble.  He was ever-mindful of the reason he was witnessing in the first place, disciplining himself as to not become disqualified.  (1 Cor. 9:27)

We exist to win people to Jesus Christ and the best way to do that is to make Jesus so attractive that others cannot resist. While doing so; however, we must be careful that we don’t begin to mar our own credibility and risk becoming in bondage ourselves.

This is definitely not a blog about the right or wrong of drinking, but we have something so much better to offer others than a profitless shot of alcohol, and we have to demonstrate that by our actions.  What can be found in Jesus is far beyond any outside lift.  When becoming a servant to all, we must be ever mindful of the One whose servanthood we are first called to emulate.

We must keep in mind that being a witness for Christ means we must give evidence of the hope that is found in Him, and not allow ourselves to forget what we were trying to say in the first place.

Sticking close to the Savior,

jamie

Freedom from sin’s diligence

Pr. 7:15:  “So I came out to meet you, diligently to seek your face, and I have found you.”

Do not be deceived.  Satan will diligently send sin our way.  That is why Peter warns us in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

We have a personal adversary that comes at us with our specific problems and weaknesses so that we may be distracted and won’t be sober and vigilant.  He wants to preoccupy us with sin, and cause us to become engrossed in it.  If he can do that, he knows our hearts will become hardened and callous, no longer caring whether sin rules our hearts or not.  Once sin takes us captive, only an act of God can free us from the bondage.

In contrast, God wishes to perfect, support, strengthen, comfort, and establish us.  He sent His very own Son to bring freedom from sin and eternal death.  The Lord welcomes us to come to Him in time of need, and there find mercy and grace to help.  God does not try to bind or entrap us, but sent Jesus the Christ to set us free from all bondage with true liberty.

We must remain sober, seriously considering God’s word and will throughout our day.  We must remain vigilant, carefully watching for danger, and allowing the Holy Spirit’s alerts to avert us from oncoming temptations and traps.

When Satan sends sin out to find and meet you, and to diligently seek your face, remember that you have a Helper who will show you the way of escape.  The Lord promises us in 1 Cor. 10:13, “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

Therefore, my beloved, flee!!  There is always a way out.  If you must run, then run.  If you can pray, then pray.  If you are able to hear the Holy Spirit’s directions for escape, listen.  No matter what you think or feel, there IS a way out.  Just because the sin eagerly and intentionally came for you, does not mean you must acquiesce.

Jesus has already defeated satan.  Don’t let that liar tell you otherwise.  So, during those times when we allow the way out to pass us by and we sin, we must remember that mercy, grace, and forgiveness were already poured out for us on the cross.  Jesus sets us free with the forgiveness He made possible.  We never have to be devoured, entangled, or bound again!  The final answer in our lives is never sin; it is always Jesus!

Praise God!

jamie

 

Time to sweep!

We went camping last night.  After we unpacked and put everything away this afternoon, our floor was covered in dirt, bark, leaves, etc.  I swept twice on Thursday and once yesterday, but as I was sweeping the mess from today, I commented to my husband that it looks like I never sweep.

That thought kept rolling around in my mind and reminded me of spiritual disciplines.  Yep…ya just never know what God will use to speak to your heart.

If I don’t sweep one day the house isn’t too messy.  No big deal.  If I miss two days, the specks on the floor would become pretty noticeable.  If I miss three days, dirt and crumbs would probably begin sticking to our feet and something just wouldn’t seem right in the house.

Give it a few weeks and the problem would be pretty evident to anyone who stepped inside.  After a year, cobwebs and dust bunnies would have taken over and no one would want to step foot in the house.  Bugs would probably be pretty comfortable in our home and mold would likely be growing on the piles of food crumbs.  Not only would the house look very nasty, but it would also create an unhealthy environment for our family.

Has your mind already created the parallel with spiritual disciplines?  Missing a day of Bible reading and prayer isn’t so bad, right?  We get busy sometimes, after all.  Missing two days?  Specks begin to show.  Maybe a blot of something undesirable gets stuck somewhere and we either ignore it or don’t notice.  After a few weeks of neglecting our relationship with God and others begin to notice.  We may make excuses and think all is fine.  We’ll get around to it soon.

A year without spending quality time with God and the nastiness of sin would show and continue to grow an undesirable, unhealthy new environment for us and for those around us.  Our hearts grow hard and callous towards sin and the garbage and foul grime that accompanies it.  Eventually we’re trapped inside a putrid life that no longer brings joy to anyone…including us.

God’s word and His presence bring freedom and keep us healthy, happy, and pure before a righteous God.  We cannot let business, distractions, laziness, or apathy keep us from our time with God.  A life that is too busy or consumed with things other than God is one that will create a layer of filth all around us.  Truly we reap what we sow.  If we do nothing to grow our relationship with God, then our relationship will wither and our lives will be the proof.

Being intentional about spiritual disciplines isn’t just a good idea.  Like sweeping keeps a home from being covered in filth, our spiritual disciplines keep our souls from the same.  Spending time with God is what makes us sparkle and shine.  🙂

Enjoy His Word today,

jamie

Be happy

Pr. 29:18:  “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law.”

Have you ever been in a class room when the teacher leaves?  The teacher asks the kids to sit quietly while he or she slips out, but the moment the teacher leaves the door, the kids go crazy.  Without someone governing them, they talk, get out of their seats, write on the board, play with things they’re not usually allowed to touch, fight, throw things, and more.  It can be pure chaos.  When the teacher walks back in, everyone sits back down and tries to act subdued.  The teacher brings the “vision” of the classroom back through the door.

That’s a funny example that makes me chuckle a bit.  What’s not as funny is the reality of this same scenario when it comes to life not guided by God’s vision.  Without God’s vision guiding our thoughts and decisions, we cast of restraint and do whatever feels right at the moment, or even what others say is right.  God’s vision is cast clearly in His Word and He has given us guidelines by which we can live that are set in place to protect us and keep us from suffering the consequences of bad decisions.

The Lord created us out of the love in His heart and He desires fellowship with us.  He did not create “rules” to hold us under His thumb and make us miserable.  He placed His vision before us to bring us into salvation and to guide us to bring others with us.  He clearly displayed His love for us on the cross, so that we understand what is most important in this life.  If it was important enough for God to send Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, then it is important enough for us to base our life on that sacrifice.

As I was reminded last night at VBS, Jesus performed miracles on this earth that weren’t always about healing or exorcism.  The Lord wants us to have life more abundantly, as evidenced in the feeding of the 5,000, the turning of water to wine, and the complete deliverance of the woman at the well.  The Lord loves us.  Our obedience to His Word isn’t about domination.  It is about us being obedient because of our love and respect for Him.  The result of us being obedient to the very things that protect us, is that we will then be happy.

Satan tries to distract us and get our eyes off God’s vision, promising freedom in the flesh, but Satan is a liar!  The flesh is never satisfied.  We can feed it for 60 years, and it will always want more.  God; on the other hand, God satisfies completely.  He fills us and then fills us again.  He continues to give more and more, as we hunger and thirst for Him.

When we get in line with the revelation of the Lord, and live a life that proves it, we will be truly free.  What sin actually brings is the bondage of guilt, shame, fear, brokenness, destroyed relationships, and consequences.  The Spirit of the Lord brings true freedom.  He gives us freedom and releases all bonds through mercy, grace, forgiveness, peace, and joy.  God already sent Jesus to set us free.  The proof of His love and His liberty was on the cross.  He cares for us and gave us access to His vision.  Let’s restrain ourselves within its bounds and experience true happiness.

Remember the cross,

jamie