What’s Getting in the Way of Your Freedom?

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Anything other than God's best for us found in Jesus causes us to sacrifice some of our freedom in Christ. What's getting in the way of your freedom? #FreedominChrist #Faith #WWGGG #CountingMyBlessings #BibleStudy

Bring Good News to the poor.
Proclaim that captives will be released,
 The blind will see, and the oppressed will be set free.

Those words may sound familiar. They come from Sunday’s Bible readings found in Luke 4 and I’m guessing the subject preached on from many pulpits.

I don’t often share my thoughts on Sunday’s sermon here at CMB, but this week’s message seemed like the perfect way to bring this month on freedom to a close. (Friday will be another personal update post.)

My childhood pastor preached loooong sermons. When asked about them he used to say he preached until he saw the people hanging their heads … then he knew they’d gotten it. He knew they were taking the message personally and were no longer thinking “you tell them, pastor.”

He preached the Law before he shared the Gospel.

My dad often says that we don’t hear the Law much anymore. Pastors don’t want to offend. They want to fill the seats so they tell people what they want to hear. And while that may be true in some places, our pastor has come into the new year with a boldness that is blessing us. One I want to tell you about…

He started the year talking about Truth – that there is light and there is darkness. There is a battle going on in the spiritual realm every day, and that battle leaves its mark on you and me. Each week in the series he has touched on life specifics where we as believers can be changed and maybe even influence change in our families and communities.

Back to Luke 4 –

Jesus was in His hometown of Nazareth. He’d been invited to read aloud from Isaiah.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
    for the Lord has anointed me
    to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
    and to proclaim that captives will be released
    and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
    that the time of the Lord’s favor has come. Isaiah 61:1–2

Then Jesus . . . rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then He began to speak to them. The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” Luke 4:20–21

Jesus came to give us freedom. Good news to the poor. Comfort to the brokenhearted. Freedom to captives and prisoners.

You and I have everything we need to live completely free.

If the Son sets you free, you are truly free. John 8:36

Anything other than God's best for us found in Jesus causes us to sacrifice some of our freedom in Christ. What's getting in the way of your freedom? #FreedominChrist #Faith #WWGGG #CountingMyBlessings #BibleStudy

But…

We don’t really live “truly free.”

(This is where Sunday’s message comes in.)

When you and I fill our lives with anything other than God’s best for us found in a relationship with Jesus we’ve sacrificed some of our true freedom in Christ. And there are so many things trying to convince us they’re viable substitutes.

Our pastor started with a list of things like marijuana, alcohol, Oxycontin, steak, ice cream, and pickles. Not to discuss or debate the individual items as right or wrong, legal or illegal, but to start us thinking. He added entertainment. And what about social media?

Anything we consistently use to numb the pain and fill the emptiness.

What’s getting in the way of your freedom?

I can’t imagine anyone there not squirming a little. We all have our “thing.” Our substitute void filler. Things in the space that Jesus alone could be filling.

And friend we’re missing out. We’re missing the fullness of hope and joy, peace and satisfaction Jesus has for us right here right now.

I began The Faith Project with freedom. Freedom from sin, my past, self-righteous judgment, and fear. Freedom to sin boldly, worship in spirit and truth, plan my day with God’s help and to be who I’m created to be.

Today, as I think about the biggest thing I want to take from this first month of the year, it’s that in Jesus I have the freedom to LIVE.

Our pastor said, “Don’t undermine what God has already undone.”

Anything other than God's best for us found in Jesus causes us to sacrifice some of our freedom in Christ. What's getting in the way of your freedom? #FreedominChrist #Faith #WWGGG #CountingMyBlessings #BibleStudy

Paul said it this way in Galatians 5:1, So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. 

Make sure that you stay free!

We’ve been delivered. We’ve been given freedom.

Still, in Galatians 5, Paul goes on to say we have been given the Spirit of Christ who wants to fill the void of our lives with, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” v. 22–23

Everything else just gets in the way of, “Jesus being our all in all.”

So, I’m doing an assessment this week. I’m taking a close look at anything I might be allowing into my Jesus space. I’m looking at the time I spend on entertainment and social media. My choices in food and beverages. My shopping habits. And anything else that might be getting in the way of true freedom. Not from a right or wrong trying to earn God’s favor by trying to do it right, but from the realization that I could be missing out God’s best all because of bad habits.

I don’t want to miss the blessings of love, joy, peace or anything else God wants for me because I’ve settled for the world’s less.

Are you with me? Are you ready to LIVE? Really LIVE. FREE!

Thank you so much for joining me today.
And a thank you to BibleGateway.com for sources.

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About Deb

Thank you so much for visiting CMB. I'm glad you're here. Please visit About Blessing Counting and Deb at the top of the page, and don't forget to leave a comment and subscribe before you go. God bless you!

14 thoughts on “What’s Getting in the Way of Your Freedom?

  1. I love it when the Sunday sermon marinates in my thoughts for a while. And what a good thought — that we’ve been set free. Prisoners in our sin and shame and released to ABUNDANT LIFE. *That* will get your heart beating wildly! Thanks for this good word. Happy to be visiting your loving site from Women with Intention Wednesday.

  2. Thank you so much for visiting, Lisa, and for stopping to share your thoughts. Knowing I’ve been set completely free . . . I don’t want to surrender to some less than satisfying substitute. Because complete freedom in Jesus . . . well, you’re right – that gets your heart beating wildly. Many blessings!

  3. As the saying goes: You’ve gone from preachin’ to meddlin’. But that’s ok. 🙂 It is a good reminder to assess where I am. For years I preached law & legalism. No more. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have to watch so as not to slip back into those ways, especially when chairs are not as full as I think they should be. 🙂

    1. What a great saying. 🙂 I guess I’m feeling a need to dig deeper personally this year and hoping my readers will come along. No preaching here, because I need a heart assessment as much as . . . okay, maybe more than anybody. One thing I’ve realized this month is that as I’ve faced what’s lacking and where I need God’s help . . . His salve of grace is especially soothing and healing. Always love to hear your thoughts. Blessings.

  4. Realizing that we could be missing out on God’s best for us because we aren’t Jesus-focused – What a wake-up call! I think it’s a good time for me to do some reflection, too, Deb. Thanks so much for all your inspirational thoughts on what it means to be truly free in Christ. Blessings!

    1. Thank you, Martha! This project definitely has me looking at my faith-life more closely. I’m finding the Spirit is not content to leave me where I’ve always been. I can’t say it’s comfortable, but it is definitely exciting. God is so good. All the time! Blessings my friend!

    1. I know I’m asking myself some questions and taking a closer look at my routines. It’s been a good place to start the year. Seeking freedom in His truth. Blessings to you!

  5. Wow, living free is not so easy. We all have something that gets in the way. I am with you, however. We need to live free as a testimony to the love of Christ at work in our lives. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Mary! The Lord has brought me further than I imagined and I can’t wait to see where we go from here. Living in His freedom under His grace. Wow! God bless you!

  6. I love this, Deb. There is so much we allow to stand in the way of our true freedom. Until we remove whatever it is we’ll never fully know that freedom. Thank you for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

  7. Hi Deb, Ugh … I let way too many things get in the way of Jesus being my all. They creep in so slowly. Keeping them out is such an intentional ongoing act. I love that your pastor is speaking pure truth. I think your dad is correct. Our Senior Pastor has said the same and although we are a huge megachurch, he is doing a great job of being real and calling sin out while still speaking the gospel that gives us hope to know that forgiveness and freedom is waiting as soon as we turn from that sin. Thanks for another fabulous post! I love visiting here!!!!
    Blessings 🙂

  8. Great post, Deb! Thanks so much for sharing it at Coffee & Conversation!
    BTW, I quite often make connections for a blog post on Sunday!! 😉

  9. Deb,
    Great words. In my book I call it “running to the cookie jar”. People tell me that was a great analogy….ha! I used it because that’s my go-to comfort. Well…God has removed chocolate chip cookies in my healing process…so now for other items. (too much too list). Thanks for your posts, they are always uplifting and convicting. A perfect combo!

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