Driving south on I-35 this morning, a thought occurred to me. “I need to exit at Lakeville. But, what if I didn’t? This freeway goes all the way to the Mexican border. What if we just kept driving and, on a whim, went to Texas? We could stop in Kansas City and grab a steak. Later, we could stop at Oklahoma City to grab whatever it is one grabs in Oklahoma City. When we get to Fort Worth, maybe we could take in a rodeo. If we go as far as Laredo, at the end of the freeway, we could grab some authentic Tex-Mex before swinging back around and heading north again.
Needless to say, I did not discover what one would grab in Oklahoma City. I exited at Lakeville as planned.
And we had a perfectly wonderful day.
All the same, it is part of my nature to want to divert from the plan, to leave the beaten path and check out the side roads (with my GPS on, of course). There is something about being free and untethered that absolutely excites me. My soul leaps at the idea of the fresh start, the new beginning… the new trail to blaze!
I believe Christianity should be the same way. We need to be willing and brave enough to chuck our own life map out the window and follow the GPS setting God has for us. Freedom in Christ is freedom from the heavy burden of sin and shame. But it isn’t simply a get-out-of-jail-free card. We should do something with that freedom.
Freedom in Christ releases us from the bondage of sin, but places us in a position of being bondservants for Jesus. After all,
…do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20a (ESV)
And the chains of Christ do not enslave us, but free us to serve the LORD. In fact, unlike the shackles of sin which imprison us and cause great anguish, the “bondage” of Christ is a great blessing!
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)
Of all the places I want to go, of all the travels I would like to embark upon, none would be worth a single mile if I didn’t have Jesus Christ with me. It is in the LORD that I find freedom. It is in Him that I am saved, that I find salve for life’s wounds and the strength to face the day. In fact, He promises to be with us always.
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” – Hebrews 13:5-6 (ESV)
What could be better than having the LORD as a constant companion? There is no earthly possession, no amount of wealth, that could possibly surpass the greatness of God – our hope, our salvation, our redeemer, our protector, our guide. He promises to never abandon us, never leave us.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah – Psalms 46:1-3 (ESV)
I love that word selah. It means “pause a minute right here and ponder what you just read. Marinate in the message. Let it soak into your and burrow into your mind. Let these words change your heart, calm your anxieties, minister to your soul. Stop a moment and consider it. This is reality.”
Pause just a moment and ask yourself, where am I going? Where is this trip of life taking me? Am I just cruising along for the ride? Am I steering my own course (or, rather, do I like to think I am)? Or am I prayerfully, faithfully, fearlessly, joyously following the path set before me by God?
Remember… you are free to be who God designed to be. Free to do what God has called you to do. Free to serve as God has equipped you to serve. Free to love as God says to love. Ask! Seek! Knock! Go! DO!