Monday, July 11, 2011

Let Freedom Ring!

For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.  Romans 7:19-20

This week our devotionals are going to focus on Joy.  Today we are going to focus a little on the joy that freedom brings.  Freedom in Christ, freedom from sin and the bondage it brings.

giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  Colossians 1:12-14

Paul was writing to the church at Colossae full of praise and thanksgiving. At one time, he knew what it was like to be a slave, a slave to sin. However, on the road to Damascus, Paul encountered the Lord, and he stepped into the light of freedom. His life had been changed forever, and he knew that he had been forgiven of all those times he had persecuted the Lord. This forgiveness that he felt gave him the freedom to do great things in the name of Christ. He now was living as a man full of Jesus.

We are like Paul. Before we meet Christ, we are slaves to all sorts of things. We have sins, or habits, that are displeasing to God, and no matter how hard we try, we just cannot seem to break free from our chains. We want to. We know that the path we are on can only lead to destruction. We know there is a better life out there, but we just do not know how to get over the walls. Sometimes it seems we are living in a spiritual Alcatraz with no hope of escape. But, praise be to God, Jesus has broken in and made a jail break.  By his stripes, freedom is possible.  There is no other feeling than that of a burden being lifted off of you.  Don’t you just love the feeling you get when you come clean with God, when you give it all to Him and know that you are not harboring any hidden sin or guilt?  It brings unspeakable joy and relief, the kind that makes you want to throw your arms in the air and shout! 

HOWEVER - You only have to be a Christian for five seconds to realize that even though Jesus takes away the penalty for your sin and its power over you, you will still struggle to live the right way. Why - even though you have given your life to Christ – why do you continue to do what you don’t want to do - - and more importantly, what can you do about it?  On your own, you have no power over sin in your life.  Jesus has the power for you.  He will break the bondage of sin and you can be free.  Only when we are free from the bondage that sin claims over us can we truly feel complete joy.  We may feel joyful over many things in life, but true complete joy comes from freedom!  Some people also still struggle with the fact that they continue to sin because they haven’t understood that salvation is a three stage process:

·      When you accepted Christ, you were saved from the PENALTY of sin.
·      Right now, you are being saved from the POWER of sin.  Jesus will overcome for you when you realize that you have no power to overcome without Him.
·      Later, when you go to heaven, you will be saved from the PRESENCE of sin.

Only Jesus has that power to overcome all that is worldly about you. Have you truly surrendered your struggle against sin to Jesus?  Jesus tells us “… take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33 NIV)  Thank you Jesus that you can overcome when we cannot.  Surrender the battle to gain freedom today!

Scripture to Claim "But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You." 
Psalm 5:11

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