11: freedom

With today being Veteren’s Day, it makes sense that my “thankful for” should be freedom. On this day, especially, Americans ponder the sacrifice made by others so that we can live in a land of freedom. The years spent away from loved ones, sleeping on low cots and crossing hot deserts. The tear-stained good-byes and joyful reunions. First steps missed. Christmas pageants attended only in spirit. Flag-draped caskets and 21 gun salutes.  This is the price of earthly freedom. It is a high price. One worthy of our respect and thanksgiving. It is the price paid so that I can type these words. The price paid so my daughter can teach a Bible study in a public school. The price paid so that I can wear an ichthus tattoo without fear.  The price paid so that you can disagree with my beliefs.

It is a great price. One of deep sacrifice.

Yet as I reflect on this great sacrifice, my mind wanders to the price paid for eternal freedom. If earthly freedom requires such high a price, how much greater the cost of eternity.

Freedom so grand, life so eternal… a price beyond anything we could begin to imagine. A price so extravagant, that it could only be paid by God Himself. And so He did.

I hope you are confident in that today. That you know and rely on the sacrifice He made on your behalf. If not… email me… we’ll chat…

Yet the most incredible thing to me is not that God would enter into this world, tearing the veil that separates us from Him, removing all barriers and making a way for us to step into real freedom… but that He would go a step further and enter *this* temple… this feeble, fumbling, human frame… bringing with Him the strength and courage and boldness to walk out freedom in this lifetime.

Consider that in more than just an intellectual way for a moment. When the veil was torn and the price paid, Christ made a way for a third of the Godhead to reside in you. And me. And that guy over there. A third of the Godhead! That is amazing! When Solomon built the temple He marveled, “is it true that God would really reside AMONG us?” and now we have a God that resides WITHIN us! What then can we not accomplish? What then can we not do?  I do not have to be bound by the things of this world, if He is enough. I do not have to carry the offense of hurtful words, if He is enough. I do not have to chase after things to build me up, if He is enough.  I do not have to fear the future, if He is enough.

That is real freedom.

And the price is high. It requires everything. It requires your all. But when you lay yourself down at the foot of the cross, you gain the One who is enough. You find yourself wrapped in garments of righteousness on a path for eternity, a third of the Godhead within you to guide and direct every single step. In the face of that, nothing else matters.

Freedom isn’t free.

Our freedom is won by the sacrifice of thousands of men and women who serve this country, day in and day out. Readied in a moment’s notice for action. Leaving parents and spouses and children and jobs and friends and commitments, stepping from the comfort of home to the danger of the battlefield… all for the sake of the call.

Our eternal freedom is won by the sacrifice of One who loves with such a burning passion He chose to leave His Father, stepping from heaven into earth… all for the sake of the call.

What then, is a price too high for you?  So much of the American church walks out their faith in partial freedom (which really isn’t freedom at all). Claiming their salvation while clinging tightly to offense and unforgiveness and hurt. Claiming the character of Christ while looking to this world to define them.  Claiming their role in the Body while refusing to look outside the walls of their own church or denomination. Claiming their desire to serve while ignoring the child starving down the street.  There is so much more to freedom than claiming salvation, or Christ, or righteousness, or devotion… it’s walking it out. It’s trusting that Jesus really is enough.  It’s casting down the idols we have built on the altar of our hearts and truly allowing Him to be your singular desire. It’s listening for His voice, and then answering the call. It’s having a heart postured to sacrifice whatever is required for the sake of that call. That’s freedom!

What then, will you not lay down… all for the sake of the call?

Tonight, I am thankful for the courage and valor of our Veterans. I am asking God to open our eyes to the sacrifice that they have made, and that we would not take it for granted. That we would walk in the freedom they fought and died for.  

I am thankful for the even greater sacrifice paid by my Savior. I am asking Him to open our hearts to the sacrifice that He made, that we would not take it for granted… That we would walk in the freedom He fought and died for.

Freedom isn’t free.

But it is worth it.

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