Sunday, January 30, 2011

Real Freedom

Children amaze me. They are vulnerable, small, precious, and challenging, yet open about their most basic desires. If hungry, they ask for food. If they are upset, they express it. If they want something, they ask or reach for it. If they feel selfish about their things or parents, they push others away. The smaller the child the more basic the desire and expression. Their vulnerability evoke a very protective, guiding, and corrective response inside the adults who love them.

One of the things about the Apostle Paul to be admired is the parent-like stance with the young churches he is nurturing. In talking with the Galatians about their freedom in Christ, he expresses confusion and frustration with their insistence upon returning to the "elementary principles of the world"; The idea that they can work their way into spiritual freedom with Christ.  Like children, they need guidance and correction in knowing how to think and act about 'elementary' principles around being children of God. Paul questions the behavior of the Galatians by stating, "But now that you have come to know God or rather be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world?" (Galatians 2:9 ESV)

As you know, the Lord will challenge us to grow up in Him; take the basic child-like desires and learn to manage these natural responses differently. Real freedom comes in believing the Lord longs to be with us every step of the way. Moving towards maturity in the Lord, invite Jesus in to the "elementary" responses we struggle with. Invite Him to feel what we feel and think what we think. This does not mean He will participate with sin. What it does is invite His Holy Spirit to be with us in the struggle; to be Lord of the most basic desires we have as sin-filled humans. And, over time, the Lord begins to re-wire who we are. (Romans 12:1)

Lord Jesus, feel what we feel, think what we think today. Feel with us our tendency to respond first out of rules rather than the realness of your love and grace. We invite you to be Lord of these responses. We need your wisdom. Walk with us, heal our spirits so we, in turn, may become all that you have for us to be.

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