Free Indeed {#31 Days}

Today marks the conclusion of my 31 Day writing challenge. {{{Applause!}}} It has been a transformative experience on several levels. I believe anytime you commit yourself to a new discipline you can expect to see growth as a person. Dedicate yourself to wrap your thoughts and heart around the freedom Jesus gives you should expect to find the truths of that freedom springing up in your life in the most unexpected ways. This has been true for me.

A friend remarked in the comments recently that she would be getting a ‘free’ tattoo after this series. Ah friend, I want one too! {Such a bold statement coming from a person who is entirely tat free.} Whether that happens or not, this month ‘free’ has been slowly, sometimes painfully, always beautifully inscribed upon my heart.

Beyond learning that writing every day for 31 days will accumulate a lot of words, here is what I have learned about biblical freedom in the reading of John’s Gospel:

1. Freedom is not an achievement, but a gift. I am incapable of accomplishing my own freedom. Every single stitch of it comes from Jesus and the truth he speaks. If you are trying to be free. Stop–it won’t work. Look to Jesus and receive the freedom he brings.

2. Freedom is not a goal–a thing to achieve, but rather a truth to be lived. There is no box to check on this thing called freedom. Like air, it must be woken up to daily and breathed in deeply.

3. Behavior follows thoughts. If I want to be free, then I have to think deeply and continually on the words Jesus has spoken to set me free. I entered this process feeling like I was in need of greater freedom. I knew that Jesus had set me free from my sin and guilt, but the every day life was filled with some frustrating ruminations and habits that didn’t reflect freedom in any way. Un-forgiveness, judgment, and shame have been powerful captors in my life. These come from a place in my life where I have felt very harmed and hurt by someone. The wounds have been experiencing cleansing in ways I didn’t even realize they needed. That’s what a Good Shepherd does, right? He sees where his sheep are not healthy and he attends faithfully to them. Over the last 31 Days Jesus has been speaking healing and freedom with his truth. Yes, it has been as simple as my choosing to think on Jesus’ words as they relate to these areas.

4. Any freedom where Jesus isn’t present is really no freedom at all. “To proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners” (Isaiah 61.1). It’s His mission and we’re included in it. I set out on this 31 Day challenge to read the text  of John by answering the question, “How is Jesus bringing freedom?” What I discovered is that Jesus brings liberty to all the common every day places. He doesn’t just forgive the sins of the lame man, he knows he needs to be set free from his mat in order to experience the abundance of the forgiven life. We may see our freedom beginning and ending at forgiveness of sins, but Jesus does not. He wants us set free from all things that keep us from abiding deeply with him in the beautifully free places in our hearts, homes, friendships, work places, and communities.

5. Freedom is contagious and oriented for generosity. Freedom is extravagant. Its joy and energy is unmistakable. Its peace and perspective is a safe-haven for others. This abundant life of freedom abounds in all ways. It draws people in, it seeks people out, it can’t help but throw a party and make sure that everyone is invited.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve learned something new about freedom this month.

Today I’m celebrating. I pray you are too! I am free. You are free. Thank you, Jesus! Let’s live free indeed!

In the month of October I was participating with The Nester in her 31 Days challenge to write every day on a topic of choice. I’m writing this month on how Jesus make us free.

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