"To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus
said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendents and have
never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set
Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is
a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family,
but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you
will be free indeed." [John 8:31-36]
"What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but
under grace? By no means! Don't you know that when you offer yourselves
to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom
you obey - whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death,
or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to
God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly
obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have
been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness." [Romans
THEY MAY TAKE OUR LIVES... BUT THEY'LL NEVER TAKE...OUR FREEEEEDOM!
In the world today, and even often within the church sometimes,
I think people often misunderstand the concept of freedom. A lot
of people seek to define freedom as the absence of restraint (rules/structure/laws).
But total absence of restraint is actually more along the lines
of anarchy and chaos. True freedom is obtained and possible when
the right rules and structures are put in place that will benefit
everyone concerned and not allow prejudice/disparity/dominance
for specific people or groups of people within a system.
For Christians, often freedom is seen as getting all the good
stuff God has to offer (salvation, grace, forgiveness, spiritual
gifts, blessing, healing...) but without it affecting the way I
want to live my life (ignoring things like sacrifice, cost, servanthood,
humility, laying down my life) and that too leads to a sense of
chaos and confusion and often the world looks on and sees no difference
to itself and so is not encouraged to be a part of us at all.
We love to take the stuff God has to offer (similiar to the story
of the Prodigal Son - take what we see as ours and run away from
the Father) but we are not as quick to embrace wholeheartedly the
truth that He holds out for us in His word and the way that He
wants us to live.
KEEP IT TOGETHER
I read somewhere that happiness/peace/love without truth is a
little like the freedom from pain that a leper enjoys - sooner
or later his/her entire body falls apart. [leprosy is a disease
where peripheral nerves become gradually insensitive]
If you don't know about leprosy and you hear that there is a person
who doesn't feel pain, you will more than likely think, 'Wow! What
a priviledge. How awesome must that be. I wish I was like that.
That must be absolute freedom.' But once you start to realise the
cost of the 'freedom' that this person has, and the place of pain
in our lives as a warning mechanism (eg. when I touch a hot stove,
the pain tells me to stop touching it - without that warning I
might damage my hand beyond repair) then you realise that it is
not freedom at all.
The same with people who claim to be Christians and yet their
lives appear no different from anyone else (the area of relationships
being an excellent example - i have heard horrendous stories of
what Christians get up to in relationships that they think is okay
because 'it's not sex' or because 'everyone is doing it' or even
'we're going to get married') and they think they are living in
freedom. Yet without truth, it operates pretty much like in the
case of the leper - sooner or later the lepers entire body falls
apart... sooner or later the Christian's entire life will fall
IT'S AS STRAIGHTFORWARD AS
"If you love Me, you will obey what I command. And I will
ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with
you forever - the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept Him,
because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for
He lives with you and will be in you." [John 14:15-17]
"Jesus replied, "If anyone loves Me, he will obey My
teaching. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and
make our home with him. He who does not love Me will not obey My
teaching. These words you hear are not My own; they belong to the
Father who sent Me." [John 14:23-24]
It's that simple. If you call yourself a Christian then I assume
you love Jesus. If you love Jesus then you follow His commands.
As a Christian we need to be holding on tightly to truth, whether
or not it feels good (because sometimes a bit of pain could be
a positive warning sign or for our benefit in some other way) because
we can trust the One who has called us to follow Him (with all
our heart, soul, strength and mind.)
So maybe it is time for you to take a look at your life and maybe
examine it under a different lens than perhaps the one you may
normally be used to. The lens of God's truth. Not am I happy with
the way I am living and what I do with my time/money/energy and
am I satisfied, so much as how does God feel about...
...the way I spend my money?
...the way I treat my parents?
...the things I do in my relationship with my girl/boyfriend?
...the way I treat my husband or wife or children?
...the underhanded business practices?
...the lies I regularly tell?
...and so on...
If there is stuff to confess and repent of (which means turn 180
degrees and start walking in a different direction as opposed to
just saying 'sorry') then do that, restore your relationship with
God, choose to follow His commands and seek His ways, and then
live a life of Truth.