Where are you today? Are you THRIVING or are you STRIVING?
For the past few weeks, we’ve used an artificial tree to describe striving. It looks so perfectly put together, but it’s not REAL and it has no LIFE. Today I want us to notice together that the striving tree also is not FREE.
It sits in one spot, in a controlled environment, and it never changes. Striving leaves us bound like that too.
But . . . THRIVING involves knowing God is Freedom.
First . . . the freedom of God says we are free FROM the sins of the world. It is our prayer that each of you knows without a doubt that because of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, YOU HAVE BEEN FREED FROM THE POWER OF SIN AND DEATH.
But we can’t just rest in that. Galatians 5:1 hints at the 2nd key to God’s Freedom:
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”
We are free FOR a purpose.
What does it mean to be FREE FOR instead of FREE FROM?
Webster’s defines freedom as “the absence of necessity, coercion or constraint in choice or action.”
God is Freedom. He’s not bound by necessity, coercion or constraint in choice or action. He is wild, untamable and being FREE FOR Him means our life changes and moves as He pleases–not according to our expectations.
What I do is mostly the same.
What God does is always different.
Sometimes it’s still dark at 6 a.m., and sometimes the sun is coming up. The weather changes, animals roam around, birds squawk or chirp, cats purr or fight. Once in a while it’s completely still.
One morning this summer as I sat, I heard a loud rustling in the corn field. A minute later, this deer with a full rack of antlers came crashing out of the field. It was magnificent! My heart was pounding a bit, and I knew I would have a story to tell the boys at breakfast.
Something new had shown up that morning . . . and I wanted more of THAT.
So, of course, I looked for that deer to come crashing through the field again the next day . . . but he didn’t.
And the next day . . . but he didn’t. I’ve never seen him since.
I realize that when God does something BIG and new in my life, I expect more of THAT. So, I keep putting myself in the same spot, waiting for His repeat performance. But God doesn’t crash into my life the same way every time. In fact, I’m not sure He ever repeats Himself.
During that time, I was reading Ps 27 in the Message. Verses 7-9 stood out to me as a picture of how to live FREE FOR God . . .
“Listen, God, I’m calling at the top of my lungs:
‘Be good to me! Answer me!’
When my heart whispered, ‘Seek God,’
My whole being replied, ‘I’m seeking him! Don’t hide from me now!’”
Knowing I am FREE FROM sin leads me to expect that I can enjoy goodness . . . isn’t that the goal? But life is not always good, so I cry out to God like David did:
“Listen, I’m calling at the top of my lungs: ‘be good to me! Answer me!’”
In the stillness, I hear in my heart the whisper of God’s Spirit “’Seek God.”’
Living FREE FOR God means we cry back with our life “I’m seeking him! Don’t hide from me now!”
We cry back when we run after healing.
We cry back when we pursue a righteous life.
We don’t quit reading the Word and praying and listening . . .
whether it’s dark or light,
stormy or clear . . .
whether it’s a majestic deer that shows up or a skunk!
We know we are thriving in the wide-open freedom of God when we hear the whisper to “seek God” and find that we’re already doing it.
So . . . where are you today?
Are you tucked away safe and protected like the striving tree . . . content to live free from sin only?
OR are you thriving in the wide open with God and seeking to live FREE FOR Him in the real world?