freedom is a BIG deal

Keep Living

Galatians 5:1, 25 (NIV) reads, “Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery…Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Everything in between supports this.

  • “…we eagerly AWAIT by faith the righteousness for which we hope.” (v. 5)
  • “The only thing that counts is faith EXPRESSING itself through love.” (v. 6)
  • “You were RUNNING a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from OBEYING the truth?” (v. 7)
  • “So I say, WALK by the Spirit…” (v. 16)
  • “But if you are LED by the Spirit…” (v. 18)

Rewinding just a bit to get a better background.  How did we come to be free of the burden / yoke of slavery?  “He Himself [Christ] likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives” (Hebrews 2:15, NASB).  We are free because of Christ.  “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand” (Romans 5:1-2, NASB).  We STAND in this grace, this truth, this freedom…because of Christ.

This is a BIG deal, even though it might be difficult for some living in first world countries in 2016 to grasp the atrocities and abominations of the concept and experience of slavery.  Nevertheless…

Our freedom is a big deal.  We are cautioned in utmost seriousness against falling away from grace (Galatians 5:4), being hindered from abiding in the truth (Galatians 5:7), and especially using our freedom to indulge the flesh (Galatians 5:13).  Indulging the flesh results in being enslaved to the sin of the flesh which is burdensome and increasingly so.  Therefore it is alike the antithesis of experiencing grace and the freedom found within it.  After all, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other” (Galatians 5:17).  And it is not just in desire and appearance / action that these are in conflict but in repercussion / consequence as well, for with grace comes peace.*

When we think about it, the ideal choice becomes obvious…but that’s just it, the flesh DOESN’T stop to think about it.  The flesh is led by impulsive passions.  (And that is SO frustrating, grrrrr.)  There is no sign of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness nor self-control in the flesh.  The flesh isn’t quick to listen nor is it slow to speak / act (James 1:19).

James 1:19-25 instructs us, “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger [the flesh] does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”

It is only through the Spirit that freedom is found; and it’s a PROCESS.  An involved, intense run of obeying the truth in persistence.  So fast-forwarding again.  How do we keep living in freedom (in step with the Spirit)?  The flesh doesn’t look carefully into the perfect law that sets us free.  Right?!?  Yes.  Okay.  Already established.  That said…the opposite of such is for us TO look carefully into God’s word, not just listen to it but doing what it says, diving headlong into the heights and depths and breadths of His grace, peace, and freedom.

When your feeling the pressure…press into Christ.  Your freedom is a big deal to Him.

Victoria

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*Flip through just about every epistle in the New Testament to find the greeting: grace and peace.  Grace…then peace.

 

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I’m your density. I mean, your destiny.

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” (Proverbs 29:18, KJV)

Google Maps app…got to appreciate it.  That app has helped me navigate uncharted territories, getting me through detours in the city and in the country due to traffic, construction, flooding, parades, you name it and on more than one occasion.  Like I said, got to appreciate it.  But there is something that Google Maps won’t do.  It won’t calculate a route without having a destination.  What do I mean?  I mean that the app will not give an ETA, will not total the millage, will not break down the directions into smaller steps, will not even suggest alternate routes UNLESS there is a specific “point B” that has been determined.  Life is like this.  Sometimes it can be frustrating when we realize that a destination has not been determined or maybe when we realize that a once determined destination is not the right one.  Perhaps we realize that we have lost sight of our right destination and so find ourselves aimless and wandering, even perishing.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish…”

“Perish,” here comes from the Hebrew, “para’,” meaning let alone or neglect, even empty.  It is like driving around with nowhere to go– because it’s impossible to have a route without having a destination….without a vision– and the result is an empty gas tank…emptiness.

Where does fulfillment come from?  …in having a destination and getting there.

“Vision,” in Proverbs 29:18 is the Hebrew, “chazon,” which has also been translated, “revelation.”  It comes from the root, “chazah,” meaning to see or behold.  What is the revelation?  The revelation is in the law, the written word of God and ULTIMATELY (in the utmost sense) in Jesus Christ, the Word of God Himself.  It is in Him that we find our right destination…our fulfillment and happiness…our destiny.

Don’t lose sight of your right destination.  Don’t wander.  Don’t wonder.  Seek Jesus Christ.  Stay true to Him and what His word says.  Follow His direction.  Because even though you might be driving through uncharted territories or going around detours, there is STILL purpose and happiness in the route because you are STILL fulfilling your destiny!

Control Is A Fallacy

A good friend of mine shared a message with me which she had shared with her church this past week.  Oh-me, oh-my, was it a message that couldn’t have been more timely for me!  Let me rewind… this past week was what seemed to be THE toughest week of my life ever—not only did I have an astronomical amount of work to do with unprecedented demanding deadlines but I pulled out my back terribly then my computer decided to stop working without my consent and to top that all off I’ve been dealing with separation anxiety!  I was greatly encouraged by her message.  I’d like to share her message with you.  And I pray that you too will be encouraged by it!

Here’s what my friend shared:

“Friday my sink got clogged and prevented me from doing the dishes.  My eleven month old found a Ziploc bag of cereal and used it like holiday confetti…oh and let me not get into telling you about him then splashing in the toilet like he was at a water park.  Saturday was my birthday and I got to sleep in until 7:30 am (which is like noon if you don’t have kids) when my three year old’s little face was asking to come into our bed!  So I pulled him up and a minute or two later my eleven month old joined the fun.  I thought, “what a great day!”  Then life started.  My older son asked 52,000 times for everything…my younger son was cranky…the sink was full again…the laundry had piled up…I was stepping over things on the kitchen floor…trying to give my sons a bath was an adventure in and of itself.  I asked God when it was going to get easier.”

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“I asked God when it was going to get easier.” That sounds a lot like my conversation with Him this week too!

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Listen to what she continued to share:

“How can I share this message of “balance”?  I am so far from balance.  I am the opposite of balance.  Balance is a noun.  It is: the state of having your weight spread equally so that you do not fall; a state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance…How do you go about setting priorities?  God wants to help us set our priorities.  God wants to be our Priority.  What are our obstacles and or our distractions keeping us from pursuing God and His priorities for us?

My obstacle used to be work—fifty hours a week plus commuting time.  I was responsible for running a campus…creating order where there was chaos.  And I was seven months pregnant at the time!  Then my first son was born and my husband and I had to reevaluate.  Then my second son came along and we had to reevaluate again.  My obstacle is now productivity– I love a day when I can be at home and the dishes are done, laundry is done, dinner is made, linen closet is organized, or fridge is cleaned… you name it.  I feel accomplished, like the Proverbs-31-woman.  But at the end of the day, with all of those things done…did I get a chance to hug my kids?  I need balance!  I am very “all or nothing” and I know it is not healthy, but it is hard to overcome.  The thing is when our priorities are out of line, we need God to realign them.”

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Yes, my friend, you get an “amen” on that one…I have all-or-nothing syndrome too!  Oh, how I need God to realign my priorities!

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“If we want to set priorities as they should be by ourselves and find balance as we should by ourselves, that’s being arrogant in implying that we have control over the things of this world.  That control is a fallacy.  Take a look at Job 38 for a description of Who in actuality is in control.”

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S o   w h a t   d o   w e   t a k e   a w a y   f r o m   t h i s ?

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Our priorities should start and end with God.   Every day we should begin by seeking His will for that day and throughout the day EVERY day it should be a constant effort.  He wants control over all areas of your life.  ALL.  Not just some.  Not just at the end of the day IF we aren’t too tired after all our other responsibilities.  HE WANTS IT ALL.  Stop fighting God for control.  There is only one thing you need to do to find balance:  “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33, KJV).  He wants our whole hearts.  He wants to take away that control that is a burden to us.  He wants to show us His will and way, which is so much better than what we ever could have imagined!”

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Dear Lord God, control is a burden to me. I’ve been distracted by many things.  But I pray that I will accept Your will and way for my life each and every day.  Please realign my priorities.  Please bring balance to my life.  Help me to seek Your Kingdom and Righteousness.  I know that You are in control of all and it’s all better being in Your hands than it could ever be in mine.

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Thanks for sharing, Carrie!  God really spoke to me through your message.

Blessings In Christ,

Victoria

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