Let freedom ring! What a beautiful thought; a joyous sound of no longer being enslaved, indebted, controlled and in captivity. But it’s much more than the history of a country, it’s the history of humanity. The bible speaks very clearly about our freedom.
John 8:32 “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:36 “So if the son sets you free, you really will be free.”
We are no longer a slave to sin. We’ve been given a new name. Yes, good things. But freedom comes with cost. Being “bought out of slavery” doesn’t come cheap. Our freedom that we have been given – well, it was undeserved. We have been redeemed, but not for our own sake.
When is the last time you purchased something costly? Was it a vacation – maybe Disney World, or a cruise to the Bahamas? Not me… no rollercoasters or boats, thank you. (In fact, they both give me the same queasy feeling.) Perhaps it was a new tech device. Giant TV? Anyway, it could be as simple as a gumball purchased from a candy machine. (Yup, they still have those… but I seem to recall a different price point, holla penny candy!) Whatever the purchase was, there were expectations on the buyer’s end. Vacation = good times and memories. Tech device = functionality. TV = Awesome movie/ sports experience. Gumball = duh. And as the buyer of whatever it was, why wouldn’t you have expectations? You paid the price, you put in the purchasing effort. You made the commitment. As did our God.
So why do we seem to think that the freedom, the actual transaction of our salvation, was the destination? God didn’t bring the Israelites out of slavery and say “well, off you go, you’re free”. No, he tookthem somewhere. He had a destination in mind – the promise land.
In Isaiah 61, the same passage that Jesus reads in the temple and says that it is fulfilled by him (Luke 14:17-21), it lays out the purchase arrangement. Verse 10 gives an interesting picture:
“I greatly rejoice in the Lord, I exult in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom wears a turban and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
Think of it this way: you get all decked out for the marital transaction. But the point isn’t the ceremony, it’s the commitment and the lives to be fully lived out together. The belonging to one another. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, the devil wanted them to stay where they were. Naked, ashamed. But God clothed them and continued to bring them out to a new place. Yes, it was a place of consequence, but he didn’t smite them. He didn’t throw up his hands and say, “You ruined everything!”, no. He tookthem somewhere. The same God who gave us free choice never intended us to sit down in the emptiness of that freedom. The Israelites received their freedom and God had a kingdom in mind. The wilderness was part of the transaction, the freedom that they journeyed through in order to get to their destination. The kingdom they were heading to was one of belonging. True fulfillment of being purchased by the Lord and changing their identity. He said, “You will be my people, and I will be your God” (Ex. 6:7). So that ringing that you hear? It is the bell of freedom, reminding us to usher in the Kingdom – the true destination of our redemption.
This little light of mine… I’m gonna let it shine! Ahh, the season of VBS is upon us. I have memories of learning this song complete with hand motions. The image then was a bright shining light that no one could blow out; and it would shine so bright that you couldn’t hide it if you wanted to. Well, just as real life isn’t the same as Summer vacation… real walking with God isn’t the same as a week of VBS. Sometimes the flame flickers. Sometimes life lowers it and weighs it so heavy that it is just barely a blink. Sometimes we want to put it under a “bushel”, just so that we don’t have to keep tending the flame. How do we as Christians deal with always having to have our “lights on”?
For starters, can we all just get on board that there will be variances? I mean, even in modern times, power surges happen. Think about water pressure. Unless you forgot to pay that bill… the water is always available. But if everyone in the house is using the faucets at once, someone’s full shower head blast beating on their back is going to suddenly slow to half-power. And let’s not even talk about if the toilet is flushed… yow!! But when those things happen, they are expected. Its not a secret, and if you have guests over, you aren’t embarrassed about your water pressure. It is just seen as a part of having water that is always on. So why do we, in our purposeful walk with Christ, feel we need to “hide’ the variances? Why do we let the devil shame us into thinking that if we flicker, even in the slightest, we would “lose” our Christianity?
If we are to be the city on the hill (Mt. 5:14)… and our light shining for all to see (Mt.5:15)… the only true failure would be if we decided to go “off-grid” out of embarrassment for inconsistencies. And guess who wants us to do that? Hint: starts with “d” – ends with “evil”. God’s strength is made perfect in our weaknesses (2 Cor. 12:9). God is the source; God is the consistency – its all to His glory. So stay atop that hill, dimly lit in the storm, flickering in the difficulties, barely hanging on. Besides, it has been said that a flickering flame attracts the most. He sees you there. And your willingness and intentional faith brings Him glory… and I’ll bet a swell of emotion and love.
what is "spark"?
Its a small thing - like the flash on a spark plug that hopefully ignites something bigger to propel you forward.