The Only True Freedom

Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31–32)

What is true freedom? Are you free?

  1. If you don’t have the desire to do a thing, you are not fully free to do it. Oh, you may muster the will power to do what you don’t want to do, but nobody calls that full freedom. It’s not the way we want to live. There is a constraint and pressure on us that we don’t want.
  2. And if you have the desire to do something, but no ability to do it, you are not free to do it.
  3. And if you have the desire and the ability to do something, but no opportunity to do it, you are not free to do it.
  4. And if you have the desire to do something, and the ability to do it, and the opportunity to do it, but it destroys you in the end, you are not fully free — not free indeed.

To be fully free, we must have the desire, the ability, and the opportunity to do what will make us happy forever. No regrets. And only Jesus, the Son of God who died and rose for us, can make that possible.

If the Son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed.

– John Piper
http://solidjoys.desiringgod.org/en/devotionals/the-only-true-freedom

A Prayer for Greater Freedom from the Past in the Present

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Gal. 5:1)

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free. (Luke 4:18So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (Jn. 8:36)

     Dear heavenly Father, what a joy it is to begin this day, calling out to you “Abba, Father!” That’s a cry of great peace, needful surrender and firm hope. I have great peace (huge understatement), in knowing you’ve adopted me as your beloved child. Nothing can separate me from your love; and nothing can add to it or take away from it. You love me because you love me, period. Hallelujah, many times over!

And it’s because of your steadfast love that I start this day, (and will continue it), in the posture of surrender. Recently, Father, certain settings and particular people, have triggered some old lingering hurts in me, and I realize I’m not as free as I want to be; more importantly, I’m not as free as you intend me to be. I bristle and avoid; my heart beats faster and my words get fewer. I relive old stories and fantasize different endings. I go from appropriate lament to unhelpful blame-assigning. My thoughts race to unhealthy places, and then my feet race, just to get away. But I don’t really leave the pain, just the premises.

Heart hurts, like legalism, create an unyielding yoke of slavery, that must be acknowledged, honored and dealt with. Time alone heals nothing; but time + your grace can heal most things. I’ve got time, but I need new and more grace, Father. In this very moment, I surrender to your Spirit’s work in my life—I collapse on Christ and avail myself of the power of the gospel. You must heal and change me, for all I can do is “treat and bandage my wounds lightly”. (Jer. 8:11)

I choose not to nurse grudges, but to drink living water. I choose neither to deny my feelings, nor justify my bad attitude. I choose not to gossip, but to gossip the gospel. I choose to run to Jesus, and not just run…

And that’s where hope comes in, Father. It is for freedom that Jesus has set us free. You areat work in my heart. One day, (hopefully soon) I won’t be as easily triggered. One Day, (and forever) I will be as lovely and as loving as Jesus (1 Jn. 3:1-3). In light of that Day, I will seek to live in this day to your glory. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ merciful and mighty name.

– Scotty Ward Smith
http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scottysmith/2013/09/16/a-prayer-for-greater-freedom-from-the-past-in-the-present/

Courageous People Resolve Conflict

by Rick Warren

“God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and self discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT)

Why does God want us to live at peace with everyone? Because unresolved conflict has three devastating effects in your life.

First, it blocks your fellowship with God. When you’re out of whack with others, you can’t be in harmony with God. When you’re distracted, when you’re in conflict with other people, you cannot have a clear connection with God. 1 John 4:20 says, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar” (NLT).

Second, unresolved conflict hinders your prayers. Over and over again the Bible says that where there is conflict and sin and disharmony in your life, your prayers are blocked.

Third, unsolved conflict hinders your happiness. You cannot be happy and in conflict at the same time. When conflict comes in the front door, happiness goes out the back.

So, don’t you want to get rid of the conflict in your life? The starting point of resolving any conflict is to take the initiative. Don’t wait for them to come to you; go to them. You be the peacemaker.

Don’t ignore the conflict. Don’t deny the conflict. Don’t push the conflict under the carpet.

Have you heard the expression, “Time heals everything?” That’s a bunch of bologna. Time heals nothing! If time heals everything, you wouldn’t ever need to see the doctor.

Actually, time makes things worse. When you’ve got an open wound and you don’t deal with it, it festers. Anger turns to resentment, and resentment turns to bitterness.

The conflict is not going to resolve itself. You’ve got to intentionally deal with it.

Only courageous people resolve conflict. Maybe the most courageous thing you can do is face an issue that you’ve been ignoring for a long time in your marriage, or with your kids, or with your employees, or your boss, or whoever.
Where do you find the courage to face it? You get it from God.

The Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and self discipline.” That means if you let God’s Spirit fill your life, you’re going to be filled with power, love, and self-discipline. And God’s love overcomes fear.

When your love is greater than your fear, you’ll do things you’re afraid to do. That’s called courage. When you’re filled with God’s love, you’ll also be filled with love for that person who is irritating you or that person you’re in conflict with.

Talk About It

What are you pretending is not a problem in your relationships? Money? Trust? In-laws? Family? Children? Communication? Values? Work schedule?

What will you do today to take the initiative to resolve those conflicts?

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This devotional is based on the current Daily Hope radio series at http://www.rickwarren.org.

Rick Warren has helped people live with hope and on purpose for more than 40 years. He’s the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California and author of several books, including “The Purpose Driven Church” and “The Purpose Driven Life,” read by more than 100 million people in 137 languages. He created the PEACE Plan (plant churches of reconciliation, equip servant leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, educate the next generation), which is used by churches in 196 countries. His radio teaching and daily devotional, Daily Hope, is offered across America.

The Difficulty in Seeing God

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” –

Romans 1:18-23

“What makes it so difficult for us to see the truth about God, I think, isn’t his overwhelming immensity but our overwhelming self-centeredness. Looking past ourselves is a lot harder to do than most of us realize. Many have never tried… Instead of looking through the window of God’s self-revelation and seeing him, we find it easier to admire our own reflection or to place on him the constraints of our own existence. We judge him by our standards of justice, fairness, power and mercy. We even measure his greatness by our own ideals of greatness.  The ironic about these moments is that we often think we’re seeing God. We think we know something about what he is like. But we’re seeing mostly a reflection – a God who looks a lot like us. A God imagined in our own image.”

– Josh Harris, Dug Down Deep, page 39