Welcome: An Introduction

Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Proclaiming Freedom

Isaiah 61:1

 1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
   because the LORD has anointed me
   to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
   to proclaim freedom for the captives
   and release from darkness for the prisoners

With the coming of a tiny baby, wrapped up and bundled in an obscure corner of the world surrounded by animals in a dusty hay-filled stable, came the coming of hope for all mankind in the world. With Jesus, we have redemption, we have forgiveness, we have new beginnings. He truly is the good news that the world needs.

Have you been set free from that which holds you captive? That which bars you from experiencing abundant joy and peace in our Lord?  It is true that we are continually assailed with distractions vying for our attention, trying to pry our seeking eyes off of Jesus, taking our attention from truth and devotion, and casting our thoughts on things much less signficant...and frankly cheap, considering the richness there is in the Lord. Have you bought into the world's lies and settled for a cheaper imitation of Jesus and the life that can be found in him? Or do you live fully for the Lord, proclaiming the freedom you've found in God to friends, to family, openly living as a disciple of Christ?

It's not easy sometimes, especially in today's society, to express a genuine devotion towards God and a reverence towards His written Word to others in our lives. It seems like now, especially in our American culture, when one speaks up, proclaiming the Word as the truth and light of God, with that proclamation, quite a number of stereotypes rise up to define one, sometimes unfairly. And that limits the potential of really getting the true, genuine message of Christ across effectively.

Maybe though, to proclaim God's truth in our lives, we don't have to use words all the time. Maybe words can limit our message to people in how God has changed our lives. Maybe words themselves can be like walls, barriers, between us and our message and other people. Maybe just living our lives; changed, free from the yoke of this world and full of the peace of God, is enough to make people start reflecting, start questioning, start seeking. I'm not an evangelist. I don't think I ever will be. I'm just not good at that kind of thing. But In Isaiah, it says to "preach good news to the poor"...to "proclaim freedom for the captives"...and I do think that is important. (It's God's Word after all! )

How can we do that without using words, or "evangelizing" in the traditional sense? I'm putting out a thought here, I'm not saying I'm entirely right, and of course each circumstance warrants particular varying responses, but there are some before me that have had the same notion that are much more qualified than I am, so I think there is some merit in this idea.

I am coming to believe that one of the best ways of proclaiming the freedom that we have found in Christ to a fallen world is through acts of service and through living out our lives, free from bondage, glorifying God and thus, serving as a living testament to His mercy, grace and to the power of the Spirit.

St Francis of Assissi once said, " Preach the gospel always, if necessary use words."

Language is limiting, actions say so much more. Words just symbolize concepts, actions display and live them out. Let's live out God's Word! Let's live out a life rich in Christ. Let's not just talk about Jesus but let's take to heart what he came down and taught us. To go out and serve others, to not let socio economic statuses define us spiritually. To reach out to others, both rich and poor, and help them. Let's find ways to lift others up through our actions and through our Love, the love that God puts in our hearts, and let's show grace and love to those around us. That will say so much more about the God we love and serve than anything words can express.

Consider Mother Teresa. She is respected by so many, Christians and non-Christians alike. She is someone that lived out her life with reverence towards God, service to mankind and great love towards people that most of us find hard to love. The lepers, the poor, the dying. And through her actions of love, through displaying the character of Jesus in a dark world, she shined a light brighter than anything words could create. She lived out her faith and through her gentle spirit, others could see the spiritual freedom she had with God. And that makes one really think deeply about things. We can't "save" anyone...that's God's job, that's the workings of the Spirit. The Bible tells us it is the Spirit which "awakens faith" in believers. But we can introduce hope, love, and compassion and inspire others to question what they believe and to reach out to seek the same freedom we have found and are finding in Christ.

As we prepare our hearts during Advent and anticipate celebrating the coming of Christ in the world, let's reflect on ways we can express the life of Christ in our own lives, without words, but through living out the gospel. Let's also reflect in ways that the world still binds us to it and ask for God to release us from those chains so that we can be more effective servants and live more fully in Him. Let's be free in Christ and proclaim that freedom to others through living in the love and light and Spirit of God! :)

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for helping us find freedom in you. Thank you for breaking the chains of slavery that bind us to the world and for vanquishing the darkness that threatens our peace, inundating our spirits with your light and love. May you continually work in our hearts so that we can experience you in deeper ways and enlighten us in the areas of our lives that need you and that need our attention and prayer in breaking free from.

 May our lives be living testaments to the power of your Spirit which makes such freedom and peace possible. May we seek ways in which we can serve you and speak of your great love, your grace, the hope that is found only in you, through our actions and through our lives. May we be the bright lamps in the world, shining our lights, (not speaking of light but actively shining it!) being the beacons of hope, that you call us to be.

Thank you for your son, for without him, we would have no hope. We praise you and give you all glory and honor.

In Jesus' name,

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