In the last couple of weeks I have accidentally found myself on a road to what we aren’t free from. I’m not really sure how that’s happened but it has actually given me much more clarity on freedom itself. Understanding the “requirements” of following Jesus is freedom!
That very word, “requirements” can instantly give our belly’s a twist. In our culture today, if we put an requirement on anything; that is instant oppression. Following Christ though, requires EVERYTHING. Literally, your life.
In saying this, so often people call themselves Christian’s and follow the belief that all they need to do is believe and be nice to people. If Christianity is defined as following Jesus Christ’s teachings and you don’t even know what he taught than why would you call yourself a Christian?
When we decide to believe what Jesus says to be true we should change. Not immediately but there should be a steady “changing of our minds” which results in the changing of our hearts. We should be able to see a difference. What is this “changing of the mind” it is literally REPENTANCE.
Our walk with Jesus requires a constant posture of repentance. There is no relationship with Jesus without repentance.
The best news about repentance is that when we get tired. When our endurance to follow Jesus feels like its on empty, repentance is our fill up. It’s our gas pump that refills out tank with the truth of who God is and who we are NOT.
Let’s draw close to Lord today, Sister. Let’s Repent and be humbled by the holiness of the Lord God.
So, Autonomy. This is a new word I learned this week. It means self-law or no accountability outside of ourselves.
As Christian women, if we don’t understand what true freedom in Christ is than we will be in a war of authority for our entire lives.
Christian Freedom is not Autonomy. In all things we are accountable to God. The freedom of a Christian is “God-law”. James says in 2:12 “whenever you speak, or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law of love, the law that set you free. God’s law IS what sets us free. Jesus said he didn’t come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. Matthew 5:17
The truth is no matter if you believe in God or not you can never be free from Him. You can either be accountable to yourself here one earth or accountable to Him here on earth but either way you will stand before Him when you die and the fate of your eternity will be in His hands. Either way you can never actually be free from God.
And Thank God, we can never be free from God! Can you even imagine? Our Freedom is in the fact that we can never be free from God. His ways are perfect. He is for us and not against us. He loves us and has good plans for those who love him.
Take heart today sister, that you will never be rid of your savior and what a blessed truth that is.
So I’ve been reading this book and a bunch of the way through it I felt like I was on board the magical mystery tour bus. LOL It’s called “The Lily of the field and the bird of the air” by Seron Kierkegaard. I discovered this author a few years ago when I came across a quote of his in regards to freedom. You know how much I love freedom so I finally got one of his books. This was published in 1848. 1848! crazy right? Well, this particular book is a “discourse” (as he calls it) on Matthew 6. Particularly the verse 26-28 when Jesus himself says,
“Look at the birds . They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are…”Look at the Lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, wont he more surely care for you? You have such little faith!”
Even though the author does get a little trippy and very philosophical he is so on point with his dissection of the lives of these little creatures in relation to God. I had to share a few things I’ve found freedom in after reading it. It’s major premise is in looking to the Lily and the Bird as a teacher and finding , silence, obedience and joy.
The silence comes not just because they can’t speak but because they realize that God’s Kingdome is the only thing to seek. In seeking God’s will first and always they master silence, which is what they embody where as for us humans, it is an art to be silent. We often come to God with the how, what, and why’s; instead of just being before him in silence.
“What is it that I must do, what sort of effort is it of which it can be said that the Kingdome has been sought first? In a certain sense there is nothing. You shall in the deepest sense make yourself nothing, become nothing before God, learn to keep silent.”
– The Lily of the Field and the bird of the air by Soren Kierkegaard
Obedience is the lily and the bird’s assurance that God’s will be done. No matter the length of the life for the Lily or the sorrows and struggles of the bird, they are unconditionally obedient to God’s will on earth; Just as the Lord’s prayer says, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” There is no ambivalence when in comes to their “today” they do not worry about tomorrow because today they abide in the Lord and must look no further for anything else.
“In nature everything is unconditional obedience; his will is done because everything obeys him unconditionally, because there is no other will than his in heaven and on earth.”
-The Lily of the field and the bird of the air by Soren Keirkegaard
Which brings us to Joy, the bird and the Lily are Joy; they have no conditions on “how or when or what ” will arise in their lives and that is precisely where their full joy comes from. Every care they have is put upon the Lord and because of that they rejoice. So often our joy in conditional on our circumstances and unless we cast all of our sorrows on the Lord we will not experience true joy and we will inevitably forget to rejoice in God.
“Learn, therefore, from the lily and the bird. Cast all your sorrow upon God, entirely, unconditionally, as the lily and the bird do: then you will become unconditionally joyful like the lily and the bird.
-The Lily of the field and the bird of the air by Soren Kierkegaard
So, with silence, obedience and with Joy we find that the Kingdom of God can be sought first. The reoccurring word before all of these things that I noticed was “unconditionally”. We so often create conditions in which to worship or ask or experience God under and that ; “the conditions” are what get in the way of our freedom in Christ. We have freedom from the conditions of this world.
May we never look at a lily or a bird the same again. May they always be our reminders of seeking the Kingdom of God first; in unconditional silence, unconditional obedience, and unconditional joy!
So, the coolest thing happened this week. Last Friday I shared with you about the rest that Jesus gives our souls. So, I have been reading this book called “The Pursuit of God” by A.W. Tozer for months! It is a very small book so I have often been mad at myself for taking so long to read it. This past week I finished up the chapter I had been on for weeks and then moved on to the next. You will never guess what the chapter was titled! “Meekness and Rest” As I began to read the chapter it started to answer several questions that I was asking myself after posting the “Yoked?” blog. As I dug into the chapter it referenced Matthew 11:28-30, the very same verse we talked about last week! How cool is God?! That just could not have been a coincidence
A few of my questions were, How do we “yoke” ourselves to Jesus? What can we do to find rest in Jesus? and here is what he explains in the chapter.
A. W. Tozer began this chapter with Matthew 5:5 which is a verse from the Beatitudes. No, not your tweens attitude, lol the Beatitudes. If you don’t know what that is, the Beatitudes are the blessings that Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5:5 says, God blesses those who are meek and lowly, for the whole earth will belong to them. He then explains how the very attributes that the beatitudes teach are the very opposite attributes of human conduct. The burden, if you will, that we are all born with.
” These evils are which make life the bitter struggle it is for all of us. All our heartaches and a great many of our physical ills spring directly out of our sins. Pride, arrogance, resentfulness, evil imaginings, malice, greed: these are the sources of more human pain than all the diseases that ever afflicted mortal flesh. ~A.W. Tozer
What I learned is that in Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus is basically elaborating on how to apply the meekness that he talks about in the beatitudes to our lives. “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am meek and lowly, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light. In essence this tells us the way to yoke ourselves to Jesus is to “take on” the attributes of Jesus. This is not easy for us because our first instinct is to satisfy ourselves and when we do so the burden of the world begins to weigh on us. Jesus says his burden is light. One might wonder how Jesus could give any kind of burden? I know I wondered about this. When we hear him say his burden is light, its the meekness that He is talking about. When we take on his meekness we are taking off our pride, our pretense, and our desires (that which we don’t realize the weight of) and replacing it with Jesus’ burden that is righteousness, patience and humility, which is actually the rest that our souls are searching for. This rest is only obtained by coming to Christ.
A burden means a load carried or toil borne to a point of exhaustion. Rest is simply release from that burden. It is not something we do, it is what comes to us when we cease to do. Jesus’ own meekness, that is the rest.
The freedom here is when we realize what our actual burdens are. In my last post about being yoked I failed to define the burden correctly. Our actual burden has nothing to do with any day to day activity or work. The burden we must focus on is the burden we are literally born with, the burden of inward sin. Our inward sin makes us the priority, makes us the tiny God, and makes us the hero. Our Freedom is in self-forgetfulness.
So, funny story, for years even after I found Jesus, when I heard the term “unequally yoked” I always envisioned two different kinds of eggs. I’d think about like a chicken egg and a blue bird egg and what their egg yokes would look like, LOL, and I would get a little grossed out thinking about different types of animals and their egg yokes mixing together. I mean am I the only one? I might be. LOL In my defense though I grew up in the 90’s where the “this is your brain on drugs” commercial (you know that one where they showed you an egg and said, “This is your brain” then cracked the egg in a frying pan, let the yoke sizzle and said, “This is your brain on drugs”.) was during every commercial break on television so that was my only visual of a yoke. Alas all the way up until I was in my 30’s, yes 30’s, I thought unequally yoked had something to do with eggs! LOL I know, I’m ridiculous. And I wondered why I didn’t grow spiritually for the first 10 years of walking with Jesus, maybe I should have picked up the actual bible and read it myself. With all that said, let me just tell you, even though I bet you already know, being unequally yoked has nothing to do with eggs! The yoke the bible is talking about is a wooden beam used between two animals to enable them to pull a heavy load together. Can you imagine how my world was flip turned up side down when I learned that, LOL, at the fresh age of like 32! LOL. Anyway…
For weeks now I have been thinking about Jesus’ invitation for us to take his yoke upon us.
Mathew 11:28-30 when Jesus himself says, Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.
I have read this verse over and over and over the past few days and every time I read it my heart flutters because of it’s sweetness. Jesus knows we don’t know how to do this life stuff on our own. He asks us to let him teach us. He reminds us that he is humble and gentle in his leading and He says his yoke will give us rest for our souls. This is not a few extra water breaks or an extra 20 minutes added to a lunch break. Jesus is talking about full on rest for our SOULS. We can rest our body all day long and still be tired. Tired of the world, tired of the pain, tired of the struggle, tired of the questions, the dinners , the husbands, the collage papers, but rest for our soul? That is freedom. That is the rest we actually need. The rest that keeps us in step with the one who’s burden is light.
Our freedom comes from being yoked to
a gentle and humble teacher, Jesus.
The question is, how do we attach ourselves to the yoke of Jesus? I don’t have it all figure out but I have to tell you that I have tasted a little bit of this kind of rest for my soul and it has always come when I am in full repentance and surrender to Jesus. I can’t quite seem to stay in that rest because of my constant struggle to let go of the things of this world but oh when I’m in those moments of rest with Jesus I long to be nowhere else. Sister, I want you to experience those moments too. My best advice to you is to read the word of God, learn who God is, pray, repent, and repeat all of that all the time.
I had no intention of a Part 2 for my last Freedom letter to you but once my post got rejected for the facebook ad I tried to create I just had to share more with you.
Sometimes, if I feel strongly about a message I’m sharing I will boost that post in hopes that more women will be encouraged. Last week’s Freedom Friday was based on my own experience of feeling annoyed, irritated, and even mad at the people posting their ideas. As I went to Jesus about it, knowing that I was wrong to harbor these kinds of feelings for others, as a Christian, I believed the Holy Spirit lead me to read the story of the last supper and specifically when Jesus washed Judas’ feet, the man who he knew would betray him. In my prayer time I asked Jesus if I could wash his feet and as I read the scripture I believed Jesus said, It’s not my feet I want you to wash. My heart was convicted and knew I needed to be willing to wash the feet of those that got me so riled up. I shared this experience because all of us need to hear that message, especially in a time when it seems we are all so divided by our ego and opinions.
There is a review process for a boosted post in order for it to be approved. The day after I created the ad I got a message that said my ad was rejected. I was confused at first, then I read the policies of the ad according to religion and realized that some how it was the wording I used at the top of the post. “If we call ourselves followers of Jesus we have to be willing to be like Jesus.” I am still not exactly sure what they had a problem with but I know it had to have something to do with being like Jesus. Right? I mean what else could it be?
No matter the reason, the fact is, is that this world does not want to be like Jesus. Our culture is rejecting Jesus.
Did you know that our culture today is considered a POST CHRISTIAN culture. This means that Christianity is no longer the dominant religion. Do you understand what that means for our children? The majority of ideas that our children hear are not biblical ones. This means we have to be diligent in knowing what the word of God says so we can recognize these bad ideas and equip our children to stand firm in what they believe with the evidence for our faith. We have to teach and read the bible with our kids. They will not get it’s truth anywhere else. Sunday school lessons are not enough. We have to equip them.
The freedom is that we don’t belong to this world. We belong to Jesus.
We don’t have to worry one bit about this. Jesus told us this would happen.
John 15:19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.
As a human, seeing the word REJECTED directed toward you or your ideas makes you feel some kind of way, no matter what. Something in us wants to be accepted by this world. My encouragement to you and to me is to set our eyes on Jesus. Press in to the word of God and become as much UNLIKE this world as we can.
Before Jesus talked about the hatred of the world for us he talked about the one true Vine. John 15:5 Yes I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Abide in the one you belong to, sister.
I was especially wretchy this week. The short of it is, I let the things and people of this world unsettle me and since I do not like confrontation I said a whole bunch of mean things about people in my mind and even though no one else heard them, God did and like a good father he taught me through it.
Tuesday morning I went in my prayer closet, shut the door, got on my knees, and laid face down on the floor. I envisioned myself at the feet of Jesus. Can you imagine, literally being at the feet of Jesus. I had all kinds of feelings pressing on my heart. It was as if I could literally feel the weight of them on my chest and out loud I said, Jesus, can I wash your feet? I wasn’t sure where that question came from. I stayed there talking and praying and I came to the resolve that I had to read about the day when Jesus washed his disciples feet.
John 13 – (1-10)Jesus knew it was time for him to leave this world and return to the father. He now showed the disciples the full extent of his love. It was time for supper and the Devil had already enticed Judas to carry out his plan to betray Jesus…… Jesus got up from the table, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel around him. ….. Peter said, “Lord why are you going to wash my feet!” Jesus replied. “You don’t understand now why I am doing it; someday you will.”…. Peter protested…… Jesus replied, “But if I don’t wash you, you won’t belong to me.” ……….(11-15) For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.” After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me teacher and Lord, and you are right, because it is true. And since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you………….”
After reading this, and first can I say how much I love when Jesus asks, Do you understand? and then he full on explains what He was doing! So helpful Jesus. Thank you! 🙂 Anyway, After reading that I heard in my heart, the Holy Spirit say, “It’s not my feet that need washing.” and then Jesus’ words that I had read earlier replayed in my mind, “you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow.”
I sat and I thought about it and prayed about it. The humility of Jesus to wash the feet of the one who would betray him. He knew what Judas had done. He knew what would happen because of him and still humbled himself, He stripped off his royal status and became a servant to the one who broke his heart. I mean a few hours later he was sweating blood for goodness sakes. Still he loved. Still he gave us an “example to follow”.
All of this said to me, Jesie, what ever you have been feeling this week. Whatever justification you want for your beliefs and opinions, humility wins. Humble yourself.
Sister, would you humble yourself enough and wash their feet? Would you wash Joe Biden’s feet? Would you wash Donald Trumps feet? Your best friend who lied to you? Your spouse who betrayed you? Your sister, your brother, you father’s? Would you wash their feet? …… can I tell you, you should and so should I. Jesus would. Jesus did.
So, where is the freedom in this? The freedom is in humility and love.
As I close I would like to ask, because I asked this of myself this morning,
Do you know the depths of which you have betrayed Jesus? He is still ready and willing to wash your feet.
Remember, Love God your most so you can love others your best.
Keeping in step with my last several letters to you, today I thought I would take this time to touch base on why the bad ideas of our culture are such a big deal and where the freedom comes from after understanding the harmfulness of these ideas.
Idea #1: My own truth – The idea that what you “know” depends on the way you feel and is a valid moral compose to which you can and should live your life according to.
Idea #2: I am enough – The idea that everything you need, physically, mentally and spiritually is within you.
Idea #3: Self Help -The idea that what you can accomplish depends on how much you believe in yourself and your abilities. You must only realize it.
I’m not going to waste your time writing my opinion on why these are bad and deceitful ideas instead I want to offer you a few questions to ask yourself.
If Jesus says that he is the way the TRUTH and the life (John 14:6), How can I also be the truth?
If I claim the way I feel to be the truth, how could I ever debate anyone else’s behavior based on how they feel?
If I do not believe that all of the bible is true then how can I believe any of it is true?
If I have everything I need to accomplish everything I desire, then where does Jesus fit into my life?
If I am in need of nothing outside of the here and now, then why did Jesus sacrifice His life for me? or did he even sacrifice his life for me?
So, where is the freedom in this?
Let’s recap what deceit is. Deceit is giving someone the wrong Idea about something. Our culture’s ideas give us the wrong idea about life and God and that allows FALSE PROMISES to sneak into our hearts unnoticed. These false promises are things like, if you work hard you will get the raise, if you love your husband well he won’t cheat, If you believe enough you’ll be healed, If you think positive your depression will go away, etc. These are not promises. We live in a fallen world and when these false promises can’t be fulfilled we become bound up, warn out and deceived.
My husband always reads my posts and then says, “So, is there some sort of action step you can give them to help them incorporate this in their lives?” and I always think, Oh yeah that’s exactly what women need is another thing to add to their todo list. ha! right?! But he kinda has a point so I’ll leave you with this,
Read your bible, pray, Repeat.
And remember Love God your most so that you can love others your best.
This morning I read lamentations and oh what a book. The author is unknown but some say it could be Jeremiah. It is basically a book mourning and praying about all that has happened in Jerusalem. I had to share a part of it with you because it struck my heart like an arrow this morning. All the destruction that God said would happen, because of his people’s sins, has happened and the author is crying out to the Lord. Through all of this destruction the author dares to hope because of this…..
(Lamentations 3:21-31) Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The undailing love of the Lord never ends!By his mercies we have been kept from destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day, I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” The Lord is wonderfully good to those who wait for him and seek him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord. And it is good for the young to submit to the yoke of his discipline. Let them sit alone in silence beneath the Lord’s demands. Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them. Let them accept the insults of their enemies. For the Lord does not abandon anyone forever.
After reading every prophesy up to this point and reading the terrible destruction that Jerusalem is enduring, this Lament is true encouragement for us. Whatever you are going through right now, sister, there is hope.
There is Hope because God remains the same forever! His throne continues form generation to generation.