"Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take a stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you." ~Galatians 5:1, The Message
If I were to choose one word that encompasses a close walk with God, it would be "freedom". Some see it as a stringent set of rules to live by. This could not be farther from the truth. Walking with God is the most liberating thing we can do. Religion binds us to a set of laws; a relationship with Christ sets us free.
The relationship that God offers frees us from every wrong we've ever committed, any injury we carry inside of us, and each area of brokenness in our lives. Christ came to set captives free. He came to tear down the prison walls of guilt, shame, condemnation, fear, anxiety, anger, depression, and discouragement. He came to release us from the grip of regret, loneliness, worry, and low self-worth. Christ came to free us up to be all we can be. And he came to give us our ultimate freedom, eternal life with him.
The cross represents this freedom. It tells us that NO sin can keep us captive if we turn to him. It reminds us that NO illness, NO loss, NO empty place in our lives has the power to bind, paralyze, or defeat us. NO memory from the past or fear of the future can hold us down when we walk this path of freedom.
This morning I listened to a woman share about how she was raped by her father hundreds of times when she was a child. This woman was so imprisoned by him and the life he forced her to live. It took years of learning to trust God, but now she walks in complete freedom from all that she went through as a child. She was even released from the anger she felt for her father. Freedom!
It's why countries that want to control their people declare Christianity illegal, punishable even to the point of death. They know that a walk with Christ means a freedom that no government can squelch. No prison walls and no degree of torture can touch the freedom people have who know God.
We don't have to stay imprisoned by guilt or insecurity. We can break the chains of worry and hopelessness. We don't have to remain paralyzed by past hurts or poor choices. All we have to do is turn to him...take his hand...surrender our whole lives to him. Our whole lives? Yes, if we want complete freedom. The more we refuse to release to him, the less freedom we have from the things that bind us. I have walked both paths. I choose freedom.
"For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."
~2 Corinthians 3:17