Happy Freedom Friday, dear friends!
I never stopped to consider that God would use Good Friday as a part of my Back to Health Journey, but true to form, he’s proven me naive yet again. The truth is, real health begins on the inside. I’ve learned the hard way that our physical selves are a direct reflection of our hearts, minds, and souls. And he’s used this priceless day to pierce my very own insides.
Growing up, Good Friday meant staring at the cross in a silent, candle-lit room, seeing myself in the thorns, nails and blood. My lies, doubts, foul mouth, selfishness, and imperfections crushed my Jesus and brought death upon him.
I don’t want to rush past this. This sober truth is crucial to our sanctification.
“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Romans 10:9-10 ESV)
“I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not conceal. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.'” (Psalm 32:5 MEV)
It’s imperative to know why our Savior went to the cross. Without this absorption, Easter loses its joy and jubilation! From a young age, I have been taught to understand that I am flawed and broken but because of the sacrificial death and miraculous resurrection of my Savior, I get to spend eternity in heaven with him. What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
But there’s a missing link. Until recently, I’ve not fully grasped what that looks like this side of heaven. What does this tangibly mean for us as we live here on earth before we enter his holy and perfect kingdom?
It means FREEDOM, my friend. And not just freedom when we get to heaven someday, but now, as we live and breathe as fractured and inconsistent human beings on this planet.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galations 5:1 NIV)
Specifically, this truth secures our identity as Beloved Children of God.
It means that your and my identity does not change or waver. It does not ebb and flow based on our actions or performance. We cannot do enough good or enough bad to alter our irrevocable gift. We now have freedom from falsely believing that our identity depends on…
- How much money we make
- What kind of food we feed our child(ren)
- The frequency or intensity of our workouts
- What kind of car we drive
- Our To-Do list and its checkmarks
- Whether or not we receive accolades for our gifts
- Our church attendance record
- The attention we receive from others
- Our community service
- Our talents
- Our nutritional habits
- The color of our skin or hair
- How well our child does in school
- What we do for others
- Our vices
- Our political affiliation
- Our marital or parenthood status
- How clean our home is
- Where we live
- How many followers or “friends” we have on social media
- Whether we work inside or outside of the home
- Our ability to make others happy
- What others think about us
- What we think about others
- Our depression or anxiety
- Our fears
- Our weight or body fat percentage
- Our illnesses or diagnoses
- How much work we accomplish
- Our strengths
The list could go on and on and it’s a paralyzing cycle, isn’t it? To live each day as though our identity, title, and self-image relies on the things listed above can CRUSH US. And they do. I know they have crushed me. Not living up to the standards and expectations I create for myself can send me spiraling into a despair of defeat. And then guilt from the self loathing disgusts me enough to do something about it, until there I go again, setting myself up for failure. Please tell me I’m not the only one.
For a long time, I had things backwards. I didn’t fully realize that it is because of my secured place in heaven that I am free to live with grateful abandon. This freedom instills a natural desire to be the best version of myself that I possibly can. It encourages me to vulnerably love others, it prompts me to take care of my body and resources, it pushes me to face my fears. But perhaps most importantly, it reminds me (when I inevitably fail) to give myself the grace that Jesus literally died for.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV)
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8 NIV)
“Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:34, 35, 37, 38 NIV)
What an incredible gift! When I let this reality truly sink in, I am humbled. He inspires me to give and receive grace. He awakens me to Live Free.
Wishing you a joyous Easter Sunday and a Friday full of Freedom!
Live Life on Purpose,