Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Freedom/Bondage Truth/Lies

We all yearn for freedom...

Bondage is being bound by something or someone - physically or emotionally tied to them.  Our actions are based upon the one who holds the cords, as a bridle directs a horse.  Sin is like that. Like it or not, we are all born with a sinful human nature. That human nature and its desire to do what feels good to us leads us to act in ways that are pleasing to us and our greed and desires, but are not acceptable in the eyes of our Creator.  Ironically, the more we want to hold our own reigns, the more bound and entangled we are to our sin nature.

Truth/Lies catch us all at some time or another. Most young children upon being caught in a punishable offence will lie and declare their innocence. We have all seen the videos of children with brown smeared faces denying they got into the chocolate stash. It is our nature. We don’t like to be told we are doing something wrong, and we don’t like to be punished. We just want to do things we want to do. So, like our young semi-sweet smeared faces, we still find ourselves listening to the lying voices in us that say,
“It will be so good! Try it, you will like it!”
Go ahead – no one will find out”
“It’s your life – do what YOU want
 “No one is getting hurt – why not?”

Sin is sneaky like that. It will tell you what you want to hear and believe, and cause you to think that it is the truth. Truth is, we are all born slaves to sin – in bondage to it, when we allow it to lead us into temporary pleasures we want, that God has warned us against. He is good about that – giving us warnings so we can recognize truth and error. But, without that Truth, it is hard to recognize a lie. So we fall into a pattern of following lies that seem good, while neglecting the Truth that would guide us in Truth. Sin becomes a driving master and we its willing slave galloping along our own little trail leading to destruction.

Shakespeare correctly said “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” In modern language – one lie leads to another.

Freedom from that sin-master only comes one way - Jesus. He is the only one Who can release you from it. He is the only way to find truth. “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life,” He said. He should know, He is God Who came to live on earth. The same God Who created all of heaven and earth by simply speaking it into existence.

He knows the Truth and came to set us free from the bondage, power and penalty of sin. We can’t undo our sins but He, and His payment on our behalf, releases us from the consequence of all our thoughts, and words, and deeds that are unclean in the eyes of God. The consequence we all deserve for our sin (even the ones we consider the smallest of “white lies”) is death. An eternal one at that. No entrance into heaven. He alone has the keys and we must come to Him for entrance.

Because we live in bodies that still want to do what it wants to do - He even takes up residence within our hearts and minds to help us make correct decisions about our thoughts, and behavior, and speech moment by moment. We call it having the Holy Spirit within us. Everyone who trusts Jesus for salvation has this, plus the ability to call God Abba (Daddy) and Jesus our brother-a joint heir to all the kingdom of God our Father.

In the United States of America, we celebrate the fourth of July as a date upon which we declared an independence from “political bands which have connected” us to another “whose character is…marked by every act which may define a tyrant,…unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”  We appealed “to the Supreme Judge of the world”, and declared a “firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.” We acknowledge God as Supreme Judge above all rulers on earth and our reliance and submission to His protection. Simply stated, our founding fathers saw the need to release us from bondage under a tyrant and submit instead to God, in Whom we could trust. So, our beginnings were that of both freedom and submission.

How is it possible to have freedom while being in submission? We are either slaves to what we want or slaves to God. The difference is that we are held as slaves to sin, but give ourselves as slaves to righteousness in serving our new Master – God Almighty. We were demanded to be obedient to a tyrannical king, but willingly submitted this country to the rules of God, and received blessings because of it.

However, we cannot expect to continue to receive blessings from a God we do not serve. We cannot expect anything but judgment from the Supreme Judge Who is still (and ever will be) in office. Remember that when we believe lies, we become enslaved by those lies, and become deniers of the Truth that could set us free. No matter how strongly we believe, if it is a lie, it remains a lie and separates us from truth. Satan has long used lies disguised as “semi-truths”.  I can sincerely believe that “the Earth is flat” until my dying day. Regardless of the depth of my sincerity, I would die sincerely wrong.

Until we acknowledge God, seek His face, and turn from our wickedness of hearts, and minds, and actions we have no reason to expect Him to stand by us individually or as a nation. The firm promise that “He will never leave us nor forsake us” is valid for those who have put their trust and faith in Him.  The equally firm promise of destruction awaits those who deny Him, and thus deny the Truth. 

Why can’t I just do what I want? What is the benefit of just trading one master for another master? The only problem with trying to be our own master, is that we are not God. He is. He is the Potter, we are the clay. How foolish would it be to recognize the Potter Who created us, then decide we know what is best regardless of the warnings from our Potter. I am only an expert at what seems good to me, He is expert of all and over all. He is worthy of our trust, wholly and completely. He will guide us on the path that is filled with righteousness. Are you willing to turn over the reins of your life to the One Who gave it to you? You can trust Him to handle it correctly and lead you to the Truth that sets you free!

Dearest Father in heaven,
We celebrate Your lovingkindness that has given us our freedom from our sinful ways. We have lived in a sinful nature that makes us worthy of death and separation from You.

We have seen that no freedom is free – a ransom must be paid. We thank You for paying that debt we owe and giving us freedom from our sin nature and a means by which we can approach the Throne of Grace and Mercy.

Much of the world seems to be deceived by the lies of sin and in complete rebellion to You and Your Truth. Help us to share the Truth, Your Holy Word, and hold fast to it alone.  

Thank You for living in us and guiding us as we walk this path.

Gaither Vocal Band
Let Freedom Ring

Chris Tomlin
My chains are gone...

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