Freedom. I tasted it the moment I finally told the truth. As the dark part of my life came out into the light I have never been so afraid in my life. I stood to lose everything. Walking down the hallway of my home, I glanced in my children’s rooms. My throat had a huge lump in it. I wanted to cry, beg, scream to God that He wouldn’t let me lose everything, but I knew if I lost control I wouldn’t be able to stop. Every fiber of my being cried out to God.
Please help me.
I realized in those moments the most important thing in my life was my family.
I didn’t know until later that God would answer that prayer clearly while my husband was in the shower and with no clue of the news that was about to be dropped on him. God whispered to his heart the words, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” My husband says today at the moment he heard those words he knew it was God preparing his heart for what was about to come. It was a miracle that in the hours following when my pastor told him about the relationship with the former pastor and I that the first words he spoke after his initial shock were, “I forgive you.”
Faith worked through love that day. I saw God’s hand so clearly. He is mighty to save His children when we cry out for help. He didn’t hold my sin against me. He wasn’t shocked. He responded to me with grace and mercy. He understood my condition and He had compassion.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
We in the church so often miss that. Maybe we start out with what looks like to us as good intentions then we begin to add rules and regulations to keep ourselves from sinning, when in reality we are just giving into fear.
Paul chastised the Galatians strongly when they started to teach that circumcision was necessary.
Galatians 5:2-4 ESV
Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.
I’m amazed that we read those passages and criticize the Galatians for going back to the old law. But have we really looked at our own lives and the expectations we place on ourselves and one another?
For years I was trapped in a sinful relationship, because I believed that the church was a place for people with clean sins. You know the kind – like gossip, losing your temper, lack of faith, not praying enough or maybe even thinking things we shouldn’t. We own those things without any hesitation. Then we sit in our small group Bible studies and talk about how to stop those things…
I just can’t do that anymore. I’m tired and it doesn’t work.
Fear working through rules produce guilt and shame. Faith working through love produces freedom.
Please don’t miss this.
How can we really love one another? I think the first thing to realize is it’s not going to be safe. Initially, it might even feel wrong, especially if you are like me and stand to lose so much by telling the truth.
He who finds his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for my sake will find it.
This is about more than handing out a religious tract at a restaurant, although if you are led by God to do so there’s a reward in that… In this verse, Jesus is talking about real loss. Loss of reputation. Loss of those we thought were our friends. Loss of control.
Losing our life is not an easy path and it’s required to follow Jesus.
That’s tough. Hearing that causes me to want to ask myself what do I need to do to lose my life? What am I doing wrong? Am I really following Jesus?
Just stop it.
I’m telling myself more than you.
Be still and quiet and know He’s here. He never leaves and He’s whispering to your soul that He loves you.
You can trust Him. Believing in Him is the only thing you can do.
He calls you His friend.
He’s on this road with us. And it’s all about Him, not us.
I don’t know about you, but that brings relief.
I don’t know where this road ahead is leading. But He’s walking up ahead. So long as I keep my eyes on His feet and not my own, no matter how dark it might get I know He’s leading me to life and freedom.
He knows I’m going to stumble and fall along the way. He knows I’ll look back and feel the shame and ask myself how I can prevent that from ever happening again. He knows I’ll have the tendency to heap a heavy yoke of requirements back on my back. Once again, He’ll remind me to give them to Him. He knows how hard it is. For He’s the man of sorrows acquainted with my grief. He reminds me once again I’m covered by His perfect righteousness and that’s all I need.
Thank you, Jesus.