Saturday, 13 February 2010 00:00

If the Son has set you free, you are free indeed.

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beachJesus has done everything to give us freedom - freedom from sin, freedom from death, freedom to live, freedom to love.  Just as He lived unbound in the world, freely doing all that He saw the Father doing, He wants that also for us. Only the Holy Spirit - the life of Christ in us - allows believers to live this way.  Because our freedom proves His victory, the enemy works against this in every way he can.  He cannot take away our freedom, but he’ll do everything to convince us we’re tied to something or bound by something.

Jesus tells us to put down what we carry and to pick up what is His and go with Him, to walk with Him in freedom (Luke 9:23; Matthew 11:28-30).  We have to do this constantly, daily.  The enemy’s strategy to stop us is to make us let go of Jesus.  He comes threatening to steal, kill, and destroy, trying to make us so afraid of loss that we’ll hold on instead to the things around us:  our relationships, our possessions, even our lives.  In trying to hold on to these things so they can’t be taken, we bind ourselves to them, and we give up our freedom.  

Jesus gives us two ways to ensure we live in freedom: “Give up everything”The world, and therefore our life, is full of possessions.  We’re surrounded by things, and in many ways it seems as if our lives depend on them.  The enemy threatens them constantly, and if we believe him, nearly all of our energy will go into trying to protect and keep them. We’ll give up our freedom from anxiety by worrying about how to keep them or what we’ll do without them.  We’ll give up the freedom to experience new things with Christ by constantly striving to hold onto things we’re not sure we can live without.   Jesus tells us to give up everything and not to worry about our provisions, what we’ll eat or what we’ll wear.  This has to be our prevailing mentality and sometimes our physical reality, so that we will really come to the point of seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven. 

Jesus’ desire is never to deprive us:  He is our sufficiency; in Him all things exist and are available to us.  He knows, however, that the world and its physical things must be so situated in our lives and our consciousness that if the enemy threatens to take them, he won’t be able to win any influence over us by fear of losing them.  In His love, God must bring us to a point of faith and satisfaction in Him where we won’t change what we’re doing or deviate from the Spirit’s direction to try to hold on to something in response to the enemy.  Everything we have is God’s.  All is given to us out of His love for us to use, experience, and enjoy, but none of it is ours to hold on to.  We don’t own these physical things, and as long as we don’t try to, they won’t own us.   In these moments when the enemy tempts us to take possession, to assert our right to a physical or worldly thing, we must be willing to deny ourselves. 

We must say no to that luxury or indulgence of the mind or flesh, confident that the only thing I cannot live without is Jesus. “I in them and You in Me” As adamantly as Jesus tells us not to hold to physical things, He says we cannot live without each other.  From the beginning, God said “it’s not good for man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18)  This is still true.  Often, when the enemy sees us resist him by declaring we don’t need things, he lies again, saying we don’t need people either.  Too frequently, we believe him.  Jesus tells us to leave things behind, but to love people so much and give yourself so fully and freely to them that there’s no separation between you.   God is found and revealed in relationship - we were created for and into boundless coexistence.  The fall brought separation; Jesus came to bring us back together, first with God and then with each other. When the enemy threatens to steal a relationship, we cannot counter that it’s of no concern as we can when he threatens things.  To retreat into separation is to go against the divine purpose of God.  At the same time, we can’t be kept fighting to hold on to relationships.  If we do we’ll be in constant struggle, because they are constantly being threatened by the enemy and his world structures.  That fight and anxiety will again keep us so bound that we’ll lose our freedom (the other part of God’s divine purpose).

Jesus’ solution is to make us one.  He says in John 17:23 that He is going to make absolutely sure that we know the love of the Father, to make sure that it’s impossible for us to miss it.  He says that there’s only one way to make sure that happens:  “I am going to put Myself in them” He says to His Father. “I know that I know that I know that You are in Me, and so the best way I know to get them to You is to put Myself in them.  We will be inseparable, so there’s no chance they can miss You!”

His greatest strategy is ours too:  love and give yourself so fully that we cannot be separated.  He gives Himself so completely to us, so that we can then give ourselves so much to each other that the enemy’s threat becomes empty and powerless, because we are inseparable.  My life is inextricably joined with the Father, with my wife, with my friends, with my brothers and sisters, with the Church, and we can be separated no more than Jesus can be separated from the Father and the Spirit, no more than I can be separated from Jesus.  In Him and with Him we are perfected into oneness, and together we live freely.

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Todd Hadley

Todd and Karon came to Charleston in 1998 in a denominational setting. There they began to have vision for church as we know it to change. The Lord placed people around them who were receiving similar revelation and who stood with them through the storms of doubt, disillusionment, and opposition. Out of this divine discomfort with institutional religion, the word came that the Lord was calling them to a new work. They realized they were in for quite a ride with Jesus.

Todd and Karon both grew up in Columbia, South Carolina, and they were married in 1988. They have four children, Drew, Gabrielle, Hannah, and Lydia, all of whom worship and minister along side the whole of New Heart with the deep love of Christ.

More in this category: « The gospel of the Kingdom