When I was asked to write a post for this blog about Freedom, my mind went immediately to political freedom and freedom of choice and all the various freedoms we have in this country and in this life. But the more I pondered the concept, I realized that there is actually only one true freedom, and that is the freedom that we can only have in Christ.
Now, I realize that many people that hear me say that will immediately assume I’m talking of religion. I’m not. Religions tend to bind us, not free us. I’m talking about…well…belonging. Being accepted for exactly who I was created to be; about being the best at it that I can be--only by the help of the very One who created me!
When I was growing up, I was told about Christ and I was taken to church on a regular basis—indeed, on a religiously regular basis. But that’s about all it was: religion. As an adult, when I actually met my Creator and began to know Him also as my Savior and Friend, I began to understand true freedom. And with true freedom also comes joy and peace and hope! Such wonderful gifts they are!
The religion I knew as a child was filled with rules, and most of them were rules about things I could NOT do. I couldn’t dance. I couldn’t play games with cards. I could never drink wine or any drink with alcohol in it. I couldn’t even crochet or sew on Sunday! I must go to church every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and even Wednesday evening! And if the church decided to have more meetings sometimes, well, I was expected to be there. It was such a lot of rules, and Biblically I could find no support for those ‘rules’ at all!
It was a religion of rules, and I could see no benefits at all. Oh, I was told that when I died if I obeyed all these rules I’d go to heaven, but I had no plans to die for years and years and it was not an encouraging thing to think of living all those years trying to obey all the rules.
Now there was something down inside me that knew for a fact that there was a God. I’d heard at school about how the world evolved out of basically nothing and none of that made any sense at all to me. How could this ordered universe just ‘happen’ into being? How could this amazing body have just mutated into being from cells dividing? Where did the breath of life come from? No, I was no dummy. I knew there was a God. My big question was what did God want from me? Why was I here? Was there a purpose for my life?
When I was 19 or 20 I heard a minister talk about giving my life to Christ. I honestly thought I had done that. My life was nothing but a bunch of rules that took most of the fun out of living. What more did he want?
But then…he started talking about having freedom in Christ; about the joy and peace that comes with knowing Christ intimately and trusting Him with my future. And in my heart I prayed that night. I prayed that God would find me and would help me to get to know Him intimately, and that I would know the peace and joy this minister was talking about.
And do you know what? He did that! He drew me to Himself and brought people into my life to direct and guide me in knowing Him. My own husband helped me to know how to not only read the Bible, but how to apply it to my own life and how to talk with God and get to know Him in a very personal way.
Now you may ask, “What about the 10 commandments and all the laws in Leviticus? Aren’t those binding? Are those to be obeyed?” And I answer: “Yes! They are! But those laws, when lived as a lifestyle actually teach us respect for one another and they free us from entrapment. If you think them through, they aren’t there to restrict us, but to free us! Such as: Don’t lie. Have you ever lied? I have. Talk about entrapment! Don’t murder. Well duh! How is that showing respect? How selfish is that? Or adultery, or stealing…all those things not only infringe on someone else’s freedom, they entrap us and squelch our own freedoms. Honor God above all others? Well…that’s wisdom above all wisdom. Don’t you see? Those ‘rules’ are there to give us guidance and wisdom and inevitably to free us further.
Through the years God has drawn me close to Himself and allowed me to see how truly free I am in Him. Oh, how very much I enjoy walking through life in the light of His ways! Oh, how I have grown to love Him! I am no longer restricted by a bunch of rules; instead I am free to enjoy all the good things He has given, while at the same time not becoming enslaved by any of it! Now that’s freedom! And I’m enjoying every minute of it!
Today's guest blogger is wife, mother, grandmother, gardening enthusiast, and Christian author Judi Ehresman. Judi is the author of "The Hand of God" series. To learn more about her, please visit her blog at http://judiannehresman.wordpress.com/