The Principle of True Freedom

In the latter part of Luke 9, the Lord Jesus Christ and His disciples entered a village of the Samaritans, but they did not receive Him because He was set to journey to Jerusalem. Because of this, His disciples, James an John said, “’Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?’ But He turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.'” (Luke 9:54-55)

When I read this recently, I knew it wasn’t only for James and John. I felt myself being sharply rebuked, too. Indeed, we do not know what manner of spirit we are of sometimes. Just because Jesus and His disciples weren’t received in a certain village, it was enough reason for the two disciples to want to command fire from heaven and consume them. That is rather extreme, don’t you think so? I got to thinking – sometimes in life, we get so offended that our initial (could be unconscious) reaction is an ill will (wish or desire) against the offender. When we are hurt, we want to hurt back. Sometimes, deep inside our hearts, we want to take revenge against those who have deeply hurt us. We know the Lord’s teachings but we can’t seem to find peace because of the anger that seems to overpower us.

While meditating on the Lord’s rebuke to James and John, it dawned on me that, in truth, all of Jesus’ teachings point toward our true liberation. This was an awesome epiphany. The most common, yet I believe the most powerful, things that can take us captive are anger and fear. When we’re consumed with anger we can’t get ourselves to forgive. The same dark imprisonment is offered by crippling fear.

When we finally realize Jesus’ teachings for what they truly are, it’s amazing how they work for our true freedom. Sometimes we feel burdened by His commandments, thinking that they are outrageously hard to follow and carry out. But, oh — when we see what the Holy Spirit has wanted us to see all along, they are what we really need to experience a kind of life-giving, peace-keeping, joy-multiplying FREEDOM!

When the Bible says, do not take revenge, God is freeing us from the misery anger brings! Look at what Apostle Paul says:

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. (Rom. 12:19)

God is commanding us not to avenge ourselves for He will do it for us!

When the Lord commands us to “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you”, He isn’t doing it to favor our enemies (or those who have hurt us or treated us badly). He is commanding us to do it for our own good! Always for our own good. You see, if we satisfy our desires upon our enemies to the full – we hate, we curse, we wish ill will – the negative emotions become our own poison! It’s like cancer that poisons our cells or a wound that festers. So, when the Lord commands us to love our enemies (forgive them, pray for them, bless them , do good to them), He is actually giving us a way to be free! To live in peace and joy!

Sometimes, we insist our own way. We want to stay in anger, self-pity, ill will, hurts, wanting to believe that we are giving our emotions release, and that, the Lord’s commandments are just too much to swallow, let alone do. But true release of all that imprisons us is His Word, His commandments! In the Lord Jesus Christ we find true freedom. He is the One who lays before us the primordial principle of becoming truly free.

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (John 8:36)

Amen and Amen!

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The Two Offerings: Lessons from the Beginning

After Adam and Eve were driven out of Eden, Eve conceived and gave birth to a son, the very first child after the creation, and named him Cain. Then, Abel was born also. Cain became a tiller of the ground while Abel became a shepherd. One day, they both gave their offerings to the Lord: Cain, the fruit of the ground, his crops; Abel, the firstborn of the flock and their fat. God accepted Abel and his offering but Cain and his offering, He did not accept. This made Cain very angry.

(image from Google)

One might think, “What kind of gift did Cain offer to God? Why did God not accept him and his gift?” And one might be inclined to empathize with Cain. Was God not fair?

Abel offered the firstborn of his flock and their fat. One can imagine the sincerity of Abel and his love and honor for the Lord, offering only the finest of his flock – the firstborn. Maybe Cain’s heart was not that sincere and fervent resulting to his offering which left much to be desired? Remember, it wasn’t only their offerings God considered, but their beings as well, their character. What was their motive in offering to God? What moved them? Was it to please God through their offerings and worship Him? I think the answer to these questions would shed light as to why God judged them thus.

The Lord saw Cain’s anger and so asked him, “If you do well, will you not be accepted?”

Cain’s heart was not pure and God knew it, so He warned Cain, “And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” Sin lied at the door of Cain’s heart, and despite God’s warning, he was not able to rule over it. He killed Abel his brother in his burning anger and jealousy.

The very first son of the earth was also the very first murderer. As Cain’s parents were banished from the garden of Eden and from the presence of God, so was Cain, now a vagabond. This was the fruit of Adam’s sin. Man was unable to save himself.

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned— (Rom. 5:12)

But God, in His everlasting mercy and wisdom, had foreplanned the salvation of mankind. Through His Son Jesus Christ our Savior, He has called us unto His presence once again, no longer vagabonds, wandering from place to place, lost. Now, we, the blessed recipients of His amazing grace, must also offer of ours and of ourselves to God. Do we do well as Abel did?

As we give of ours (tithes and love offerings) and of ourselves (praise and thanksgiving, prayer and fasting, service), what is the state of our hearts? Of our whole beings? For this God considers.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (Rom. 12:1)

I might be linking up with these lovely blogs.

Journey with Jesus,