We are so blessed to live in a country where we have the freedom to worship, the freedom to vote, the freedom to make our own decisions and we get to live in a country with men and women fighting for us to keep that freedom day and night. We are also so incredibly blessed to have Gods grace to set us free from a multitude of sin.
I know there’s a lot of opinions of how a ‘christian women’ (and all christians) should act, what we should wear, what we should say and do, how we should raise our kids blah blah blah. But we all live in the same world! We see the same stuff on the news, our kids are exposed to the same things, we watch movies some would gasp at, I drink and I like it, sometimes I like to listen to rap music (Warren G use to be my jam!) and sing along and totally freak my kids out, I slip out a few cuss words here and there and I have bad days and horrible thoughts too! Christians are often called hypocrites and I use to be one throwing that name out. I’ve had christians friends and family hurt me and turn their backs on me, and I’ve had non christians do the same. It’s not fair to put anyone in a box. Can anyone honestly say that they’ve never said one thing and then done the complete opposite?! The point is, NO ONE IS PERFECT, no not one.
We live in a fallen world where temptation and sin are knocking on our door 24/7. I admit that when I’m in a weak place mentally or physically, I fall into it from time to time, actually just recently! I sometimes find myself so wrapped up and consumed in my weaknesses and desires, that I’m so far away from being in the Word and spending time with the Lord that I start to feel guilty and condemned (a great scripture to read for those who struggle with the same thing is Romans 1:8) . Then I’m scrambling to make it all right and act perfect, I open my bible and get back to church because maybe, just maybe, God will see that I really am a good person and it’s all going to be ok and I won’t be punished etc etc etc. Do you see a pattern here? I turn it into ‘works’, if I do this then God will love me and forgive me, if I do that then I’m a ‘good’ Christian and it ends up being all about me. By the way, today Pastor John pointed out that there’s no where in the bible that says ‘good Christian’. We all mess up and make mistakes, but Grace sets us free from it all, and guys, it’s FREE (I’m a sucker for free stuff!) Ephesians 2:8 says it all.
The moment that Jesus died on the cross, our sin died with Him. Freedom! Amen, right? So why do we fall into the trap of the do’s and don’ts? You MUST do this or DON’T do that? When we feel like we have to act a certain way or be perfect to make it into Heaven, it actually does the opposite of growing our faith. When we get stuck in the rut of trying to perform for God, it separates us from the very thing He wants, which is a relationship with Him. God doesn’t want us in bondage and held captive by our sin, He’s the one who set us free from it. He doesn’t want us to live in guilt and shame, He doesn’t want our wannabe perfection, He wants our imperfect hearts. He wants us to love and serve others through love (Galations 5:13 NASB). He wants us to know that even when we mess up (He always knows before us when we’re going to, frustrating right?!) He still loves us, we are His and He is ours.
Sometimes I justify a lot of stuff, I mean, I can pretty much justify anything in my head and it’s kinda scary, haha! And sometimes I get caught up in justifying my sin. I know I have Jesus on my side, I know I will be forgiven and I also know that because I know this, I can push the limits (which then spirals out of control and I’m left with more guilt). But just because we were set free doesn’t mean we have a hall pass to screw everything up. God want’s us to have faith and when we have faith, even if it’s just a little, we can move mountains (Matthew 17:20). When we have faith, it allows God to come in and work even more in our lives. When we are busy humbly loving one another, we have no time to be selfish, which means we have even less time messing our lives up with sin (not to say we won’t ever mess up, I mess up daily!). But being more focused on love keeps us from being focused on ourselves.
It says in Galations 5:14 “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ “. When the focus is on loving others (even when it’s really difficult) amazing things can happen. I yearn for people to know Jesus and true freedom, for everyone to experience Gods grace and insane love for us. I am not perfect, I don’t claim to be and know all of the answers, but I do know His word is true and in His word we have true freedom.
This is an amazing time to reflect on the men and women serving our country, protecting us, our friends and family. The men and women who fight every single day to keep us safe in this mad world. My prayers and love go out to all of those who serve our country and fight for our FREEDOM.
God Bless and Happy Fourth of July!