Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Life Seasonings - Principle 7 of 10

Principle 7:  Walk in freedom 
(Walk light)

If we can have the ability to see the unseen in people, what will we see? In my imaginative mind, I see people with black backpacks on their backs with all sorts of things imaginable that they have accumulated along their life’s journey. Some have their backpacks so stuffed up that they are struggling to move, fumbling under the sheer weight. Some have even collapsed to the ground and not able to move at all. Yet I see others skipping joyfully around on very light backpacks, almost empty, with tell-tale signs of a carefree life. They can stop, walk or run with absolute ease.

And there are many types of people somewhere in between these two extremes. Two persons may have the same redemptive experience in the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, yet they are not the same in the way they walk (or run) their life’s journey. That’s why some Christians seem to be living their Christian life passionately whilst others drag their feet.

All Christians may start on the same line, that is, we are totally set free in Him. “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.” (Galatians 5:1) But not all will run at the same pace and the same distance. Others are totally distracted from the journey and some, sadly, go backwards. If we have spiritual eyes to see, we see Christians with differing passion and love for God, weighed down by heavy or light backpacks. What makes one Christian on fire for Him and another living mediocrely and half-heartedly?

As a pastor, I have counseled many people. One common trait among those seeking help is this: They carry very heavy burdens in their lives. Although technically they have been set free from their sins at the point of their conversion, yet they continue to stuff back the very things they have left behind as new Christians. Sometimes they add on many other things as well.  Jesus puts it another way in the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-23). The seeds that were scattered fell into four places: on the path, rocky places, among the thorns and on good soil. The seeds represent the message of God that was sown into the hearts of men. The seed that fell on the path is liken to a man who has heard the message, but it is snatched away immediately by the evil one. It has no chance to grow. The person remains unfruitful. The second seed is liken to a man who receives the message with joy but because there’s no depth or root in the way the message has an effect in his life, and when trouble comes, he too falls away. The third man is choked with the worries of life and the deceitfulness of wealth, he is unfruitful in his Christian life by default. But the fourth man, who hears the message, understands and applies it, becomes a fruitful man, passionate about life and useful for the kingdom of God.

It is good to inspect right now what kind of Christians you are at this stage of your life. Regular inspection of broken walls, as Nehemiah did before he re-built the walls in Jerusalem, is a necessary part of maintaining a passion for God and living fruitful lives. Which type are you?

a.      You made a profession of faith before but the devil stole everything from you even before you made a start?
b.      Were you discouraged along the way because you couldn’t handle problems and you have been blaming God and others ever since?
c.       Are you distracted by worldly cares and values, are distracted and living mediocrely as a result? Somehow things just don’t make sense in this unending pursuit.

All the three above are big time contributors to your backpack. This list is not exhaustive of course. We are talking here about every sin that you have disobediently committed that grieves the heart of God in every conceivable area of money, sex and power, or as Apostle John puts it in 1 John 2:16 (NKJV) – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. For every commission of sin, we add another item into our backpack.

Christ has set us free. Why have we robbed ourselves and allowing the evil one to rob us of that freedom? The passionate plea of Apostle Paul is “Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” It is so easy to go back again to our old life. Repent from your ways, stand firm and be like the fourth man, and the journey that you will embark from then on will be an incredible one. So, walk light and walk free!

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