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Choosing Freedom

Freedom is not something that is uniquely American. It was instituted by a God Himself. His desire is that all of us live free lives. We are the ones who constantly put ourselves in bondage through our actions. We are the ones who put ourselves in position to let others bind us up. God has called us to live free lives according to Galatians 5:1. So why do we do the things that take us away from freedom? Why do we lament the past when we were slaves instead of celebrating the freedoms we currently enjoy?

It’s a problem that goes back as far as time. When the children of Israel were set free from the bondage of Egypt, they cried out, “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted.” In their freedom, they looked back on their time of slavery as a positive thing. They didn’t grasp what it meant to be free, so they would have rather gone back into slavery than to have lived in the freedom that God had granted them. It sounds absurd, but are we so different?

We let what other people have said or done to us imprison us in our minds and actions. We let the past dictate our present. God has set us free, but we allow unforgiveness to hold us down and rob us of freedom. We allow grudges and pain to keep us from trusting anyone. When that happens, we hold ourselves back from the future God has for us. We let what man has done to us rob us of the blessings of freedom. We hold ourselves back in that prison not wanting to get out because it’s safer to stay there. Freedom requires action on our part to move forward and to stay free.

Galatians 5:13-15 says, “Use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows… Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom” (MSG). Selfishness is the doorway to imprisonment. Serving others is the way to staying free. When we help others, despite how many times we’ve been taken advantage of, we walk in freedom. When we hold back because of things that have happened, we allow that freedom to slip away. Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” As Christians, we can’t sit around and do nothing and stay free.

Photo by J W on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Your Emancipation 


On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. It legally changed the status of slaves in ten southern states from slaves to free. Even though it was a legal document, many southern states refused to accept it. There was also the fact that news moved slowly. In fact, it was June 19, 1865 before slaves in Texas received word of the Emancipation Proclamation. To this day, June Teenth is a holiday in Texas that celebrates the day of freedom of slaves even though they had technically been free for over two years.

I tell you that story because it applies to many Christians today. We are no longer slaves to sin when we accept Christ into our lives. Yet many of us go on living as though we are still in bondage. As the scripture tells us, it was for freedom that Christ set jus free. Jesus broke the chains of sin in our lives and made us free from the law of sin and death. We are to leave the life we were living and to become new creations.

II Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom)” (AMPC). The emancipation that Jesus brings is not just from the bondage of sin. It’s to set you free from any bondage you may be in. He came that you could be set free from the bondage of fear, self destruction, pornography, drugs, sickness, and any other bondage you may find yourself in. As a Christian, you are free and it’s time to quit living as a slave.

Romans 6 has a lot to say about leaving a life of bondage to a life of freedom. Verse 11 says, “Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.” In the next verse, in a different version, it tells us not to give sin a vote in how we live. Our mindset has to change along with our salvation. We have to accept the freedom Jesus brought us, then change our mindset from slaves to free people in order to begin walking in that freedom.

If you find yourself having accepted the freedom Jesus brings, but still living with a slave mentality, pray that God would renew your mind and to give you the mind of Christ. Ask that God would help you to accept your freedom and to begin living in it. God has issued His own Emancipation Proclamation for your life. He has set you free because His Spirit now resides in you. Don’t spend years living in bondage after you’ve been set free. Begin walking in your freedom today.

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Declaration Of Independence 


On July 4th, 1776, the Continental Congress ratified a document known as the Declaration of Independence. It was a formal declaration that the 13 colonies would no longer live under British rule or be subject to the decrees of the monarchy. They had enough of the tyranny and taxation without representation and decided to fight back. They knew there would be a difficult road ahead and it was filled with uncertainty. They knew that the odds were against them, but they also knew that freedom was worth it.

The birth of the United States of America is an inspiration to me in life and in my spiritual walk with God. You see there comes a time in our lives when you and I have to decide if we want to continue living under the old law. We have to choose whether we want to be bound to the dictates of the flesh or be set free. The moment we choose Jesus to be our Lord, we choose to throw off the chains of the flesh. Just like the colonies, that Declaration of Independence will be a declaration of war.

Galatians 5:17 says, “For what our human nature wants is opposed to what the Spirit wants, and what the Spirit wants is opposed to what our human nature wants. These two are enemies, and this means that you cannot do what you want to do” (GNT). How God wants us to live and how our flesh wants us to live are two completely different ways. If we choose to declare our independence from our human nature, then we will need to live how the Spirit wants if we want true freedom. Verse 18 says, “If the Spirit leads you, then you are not subject to the Law.”

If you’ve decided to accept Jesus as your Lord, but haven’t ratified your Declaration of Independence, let me encourage you to do that today. After you’ve done it, read Romans 7 and 8. These two chapters will help you understand the war you’ve just started and give you the keys to victory. You are not alone in this war for your spiritual independence. You have an Advocate in the Holy Spirit and you have Jesus interceding on your behalf. You also have a whole body of believers in the same trenches as you are fighting the same battles. It was for freedom that Christ set us free (Galatians 5:1), so let’s declare it today! 

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Lesson Learned

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It’s Free Friday! Today is the day you let go of the things in your life that keep you down or hold you back from all God has for you. To celebrate, I’m giving away a copy of “AHA: Awakening.Honesty.Action.” by Kyle Idleman. Keep reading to find out how to enter.

Have you ever been stuck on a problem or in a situation and didn’t know the answer of what to do? Have you spent days and nights racking your brain trying to figure out the solution? It’s stressful. You’re in a no win situation with no doors or windows opening telling you, “Thos is the way out!” It’s complicated too. If you do this, then that will happen. If you do that, then this will happen. Then, when you least expect it, you see the answer. It was there the whole time, but your vision was cloudy.

That’s how the prodigal son was. He had taken his inheritance early (mistake). He had moved away from his family so he could be himself (mistake). He wasted all the money from his inheritance on partying (mistake). He didn’t take time to build real relationships with others. All the friendships he had made were superficial and shallow because they were built on his ability to pay for drinks (mistake). When a famine came, all those superficial friends wouldn’t lend him a hand. They only looked out for themselves. Every mistake he had made was staring him in the face. His hunger was a constant reminder that he had messed up.

Here he was trapped in a foreign land. He had no friends, no shelter, no food, no money and no way back. He had to be honest with himself. He had no way out of the situation. He thought for days on how to get some money back. He found a job slopping pigs. He was so hungry that he wanted to eat the food in the slop. I’m sure he got angry at himself as he watched the pigs have enough food to eat. He probably tried to think of ways get some of the food out of the trough with no one looking. He was desperate. Hope was running out when he had a moment of clarity. He could go home to his father and feed his pigs. At least his father fed his servants unlike his current employer.

That moment of clarity led to action. He got up immediately once he saw the answer to his problem. He rehearsed his speech the whole way. “Dad, I’ve messed up. I don’t deserve to be called your son. Will you hire me? I’m starving and am willing to work hard.” While he was going through the words as he walked, his father saw him and ran to him. His father embraced him and kissed him. The son pushed the father back and started to say his speech, but the father wasn’t listening. He saw the hunger and desperation in his son. He had his servants prepare a feast for his son. The son never had to worry about food or shelter again.

He learned some valuable lessons in the ordeal. He learned that real relationships aren’t made by paying for everything. He learned that you should always prepare for the worst outcome and have enough to survive it. He learned that family loves you no matter what. He learned that pride will keep you from having real relationships. He learned that being honest with yourself and God pushes you to action. Most of all, he learned that no matter what he has done, the Father will always accept him back if he’s willing to return. The past is pushed aside and arms are wide open to the child who returns.

If you would like to win “AHA” by Kyle Idleman, go to the Devotions By Chris Facebook page here and “like” it. I will randomly pick one person tomorrow (June 28, 2014) who has done liked my page. If enjoy reading these daily devotionals, please invite your friends to like my page so they can receive encouragement from God’s Word too. You can also follow me on Twitter here.

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