Friday, July 26, 2013

Glorious Freedom, verse 3

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Freedom from pride and all sinful follies;
Freedom from love and glitter of gold;
Freedom from evil temper and anger;
Glorious freedom, rapture untold!

Today we continue to look at and meditate on what Christ has set us free from - and I hope you will rejoice with me that we do not have to be slaves to these things! It is for freedom that Christ set us free!

We have freedom from pride. The Bible warns us about pride, and exhorts us to embrace the opposite: humility.

When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom. Proverbs 11:2

A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor. Proverbs 29:23

Jesus, our Savior, was the ultimate example of someone who could have been proud, but was not. Paul tells us that Jesus, even though He is God, did not consider being equal to God as something to crow about. Instead, He humbled Himself.

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8

Jesus' humility led Him to the cross, where He paid the price for our sin. Because of His death, we are set free from sinful follies. It won't take you long to find a list of sinful follies in God's word. As humans, we are apt to participate in any number of them, whether thought or deed.

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man. Mark 7:21-23

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. I John 2:16

Paul, in his letters to the new churches, encourages believers with how to think and act now that they have been set free. Instead of succumbing to sinful follies, believers are called to reject sin and embrace actions that show that we belong to Christ. These are good verses to consider memorizing so they are hidden in your heart and can be recited when you are tempted to sin.

But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices. Colossians 3:8-9

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:29-32

Christ has also set us free from the love of glitter and gold. Again, the Bible warns us about this folly.

He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity. Ecclesiastes 5:10

For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. I Timothy 6:10

Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

As Christians, we have the privilege of being stewards of the gifts God has given us - and that includes our jobs that provide our income. It's all God's money - and He entrusts it to us to make good decisions. And because of our faith, we can trust that God will provide for us what we need. We don't need to worry about what we will eat or wear - God cares for us and will provide, as Jesus told us!

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

"For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Matthew 6:25-33

We must first seek God's kingdom, making that our first priority. That, in itself, will set us free from the love of money and all that glitters. Another sinful folly is a hot temper and anger. Proverbs has much to say about anger, wisdom and prudence.

A fool always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back. Proverbs 29:11

He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly. Proverbs 14:29

A fool’s anger is known at once, but a prudent man conceals dishonor. Proverbs 12:16

Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man,or you will learn his ways and find a snare for yourself. Proverbs 22:24-25

I really appreciate how King Solomon encourages us - do not be eager in your heart to be angry! He makes it clear that anger is a choice - a sinful folly.

Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, for anger resides in the bosom of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9

There is a dire consequence for these sinful follies, including anger and its ripple effects of disputes, dissensions, factions and envying - those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God!

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21

James provides us with a great alternative - be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.

But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20

James reminds us that getting angry doesn't achieve anything - most importantly of all, it does not achieve righteousness. "Quick to hear, slow to speak" is a mantra worth repeating!

Today, I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude that I have been set free. I am no longer a slave to these things, these sinful follies, because Christ has set me free. Thank you, Lord!

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. Romans 8:20-21

Glorious Freedom
Words by Haldor Llineas

Once I was bound by sin’s galling fetters;
Chained like a slave, I struggled in vain.
But I received a glorious freedom,
When Jesus broke my fetters in twain.

Glorious freedom! Wonderful freedom!
No more in chains of sin I repine!
Jesus the glorious Emancipator—
Now and forever He shall be mine.

Freedom from all the carnal affections;
Freedom from envy, hatred and strife;
Freedom from vain and worldly ambitions;
Freedom from all that saddened my life!

Freedom from pride and all sinful follies;
Freedom from love and glitter of gold;
Freedom from evil temper and anger;
Glorious freedom, rapture untold!

Freedom from fear with all of its torments;
Freedom from care with all of its pain;
Freedom in Christ, my blessed Redeemer—
He who has rent my fetters in twain.

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