Posts Tagged ‘freedom’
wounds that will not heal
words that scratch at the scab
hurt that refused to forgive
pain that will not dull away
unity – forever broken?
reconciliation – is it possible?
forgiveness – can you ever forget?
love – does it really win?
can the past be forgiven?
will the past be forgotten?
are we bound to repeat it?
are we bound to re-live it?
as we build higher walls
as we erect stronger fortresses
the love that might have been
gets locked outside
i crave freedom
i crave unity
i crave security
i crave His love
Malema sings “kill the boer”…Hofmeyr sings a song with the word “kaffir”…my heart continues to break for my country.
freedom is not free
it comes at a price
sometimes it’s hard work
but mostly it’s someone else’s blood
matching through streets
not willing to sit and take it
knowing that the price is worth it
madiba, mbheki, mabhida, sisulu
the list is endless
gave up their personal freedom
gave tears, sweat and blood for the country they loved
the silent ones
who fought without making a fuss
those who believed love and peace were most effective weapons
turned the world upside down without any violence
mother theresa, ghandi, martin luther king
loved till the very end forsaking themselves
believed that in order to cause change, you have to change
lived out what they believed in their everyday life
the holy one
the one who actually knew the eternal price
the strength of a lion and the heart of a lamb
the one who invented silent revolutions
jesus, christ, messiah, son of God
gave his life in exchange for mine
bled, died, and rose again
all so that i could be free
different leaders – different people
all with the same goal – freedom
each one suffering and living for others
each one remembered by history for their love
my personal freedom was bought in blood
my country’s freedom was bought in blood
my mind’s freedom was bought in blood
my heart’s freedom was bought in blood
some look down on me
some look in shame
i ain’t no beggar
i just didn’t want the rules
now it’s just me and my guit
sitting on these lonely streets
playing for no one
playing for everyone
i tried the 9 – 5
i tried on the suit
it just wasn’t me
it just didn’t fit
now i choose what i wear
the world is my office
the sun keeps my office hours
my body sets my lunch time
MY beauty is out here
MY music is in the wind
the world sings my melodies
nature echoes my harmonies
i used to feel tied down
now i feel like i’m free
please don’t judge my choices
i’ll try to respect yours
neither one is right i think
you have your way i have mine
so as you walk by me in your nice suit
as you walk by me to your skyscraper office
as you walk by me with you cup of starbucks
pls don’t look at me with such disdain
“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 free?”
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 6:15-18]
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 apart.
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.
By: Brett Fish Anderson
i have looked all around to find my freedom
i have searched the worlds ways but they have failed
i ran away from the rules and restrictions
i craved the freedom to be and say as i pleased
then i ran to your words
then i ran to your law
then i ran to your grace
where true freedom reigns
i find i’m truly free in the context of your law
i long for your laws to be written on my heart
i’ve found that freedom is only found in walking with you
i long to meditate on your statutes by day and by night
now i run to your words
now i run to you law
now i run to your grace
where true freedom reigns
in your truth
in your words
in your law
i find freedom
in your truth
in your words
in your law
i find me
first off let me say that i don’t think drinking alcohol is a sin, nor do i think alcohol in itself is inheretly bad…but like anything else, if abused it can be bad.
secondly, i am not an alcoholic…although it might have sounded like that from my previous post. i have however been known to drink too much on a couple of occasions, hence the “spiral” in yesterday’s post.
thirdly, as i said, i’ve been re-evaluating my life and have come to the conclusion that i have a somewhat addictive-personality…not that my personality is addictive, but rather i tend to get addicted to things easily…so for someone like me I think it would be wise to either not drink at all, or at least put some boundaries/principles in place that are going to keep you from destructive behaviors.
defining the spiral…
i love dancing…i love live music…i love music festivals…unfortunately festivals (especially those not specifically for Christians) and clubs/bars tend to have lots of alcohol and not much else in the fluidity department…so i go to these festivals/clubs/bars/whatever and as i dance/listen to the band i get thirsty, and the more thirsty i get the more i drink…this was not an everyday occurance or whatever but it has happened more often that it should have. and it seemed to happen in the same places/same people type of thing. and as i said for a while i bought the lie that it was not a problem. i was enjoying myself and having fun…but then the next day the regrets would creep in, and i wouldn’t be able to believe the lie…because in the moment of clarity, i knew the Truth and the i knew the lie…
i also happen to love wine…really love wine…so i started buying a bottle at home…just one glass after work to destress and unwind – which again, in itself is not an issue – and also it helped me sleep when insomnia was rearing it’s ugly head, but when you start drinking on a nightly basis, and it becomes something you look forward to at the end of the day and something you need in order to fall asleep…i would start questioning if maybe you might be getting addicted.
defining the boundaries
make the decision
know your limit…know that if you are in this place, with these people, in this environment you tend to drink or whatever you need to be vigilant that you don’t fall into the same traps you usually do. and if you know that you can’t control yourself in that environment, don’t be in that environment.
going out with other Christians
i find that going out with Christians, or at least people who have the same mentality as me regarding alcohol, is so much more benecial for me. it’s hard to go out with people who have the intention of getting wasted and not fall into that same space of mind yourself. it’s so much better when you go out with the intention of just having fun soberly and you have each other and can support other on that decision. i have friends who are Christian and don’t see anything wrong with drinking…they won’t force me to drink or whatever, but because they are all getting drunk i just end up going with the flow…so it’s much easier to not go there if you’ve got someone else standing with you.
i’m not a fan of accountaliby partners, i don’t like people poking their noses into my business…i am however a big fan of friends so i’ve decided to give my friends the permission to ask me the tough questions…to ask me about my walk, to ask me about the past weekend, to ask me about my struggles…and in so doing keeping me accountable without it being a formal report-back type of deal where it feels all forced…with friends at least i can be sure that there is love behind it, it’s not a you’re not good enough thing, but more of a you are good enough to beat this, and i wanna walk with you to get there.
pride goes before the fall
secret sin’s the worst to fight. all you’ve got is yourself…and if it keeps beating you obviously aren’t strong enough on your own…however a cord of three strings is harder to break…let someone in on the secret…shed light on it…and it suddenly looks a lot less scary. and when you’ve got two people fighting it becomes a much easier fight.
i’ve stopped keeping wine in my room. i’ve stopped going out with enough cash to buy me enough drinks to get drunk on. i’ve started going out with people who are like-minded on the alcohol issue…all small steps, but steps none-the-less.
This is one of those “do I push the publish button or not” posts…too real…too fresh…probably too much to put online…but realness beckons!
I used to go to a church that taught that Christians should never drink…and I believed it too. I didn’t drink, I was a good little girl…and I pretty much judged anyone who claimed to be a Christian and drank…And anyway, I really didn’t get it…”why drink at all…I have fun just like you except I can remember it in the morning…what? you only had one drink, well i’m guessing you probably still blacked out anyway…i mean really how many drinks does it take?”
The problem began when I became dissatisfied with church answers and decided to look to Jesus answers…I went through the bible to try and find that illusive verse that says those who choose to follow Christ should never drink. And I found one…you know the one where Samson is set apart as a Nazarite and never drinks…that proves that God’s people shouldn’t drink right? Ok, never mind that Jesus turned water into wine, and that Paul tells Timothy to drink a little wine – it was only cos the drinking water in that day was so bad for them that they HAD to drink wine…never mind that Jesus offered the disciples wine at the last supper or that the bible says “do not GET DRUNK on wine” not “do not DRINK wine” – same thing really…
Anyway, so here I sit with this conundrum (i really like that word) and feeling like the biggest pharisee in the world for being so judgemental. And then one day I decided to taste this heathen drink…huh, what do you know, actually tastes good. Then one day I decided to buy myself a whole bottle of cider…then another day it was 2…then another…then i got into wine…then i moved to the biggest wine producing region in south africa…spiral!
I’ve been doing a lot of inward looking lately…trying to work out issues in my life, searching for the root cause and trying to hand ALL the crap to God so he can sort it out. And one thing I realised was that alcohol gives me this sense of false freedom. When you are drunk you can say and do whatever you want…and the next day you can always just blame it on the alcohol…That lie worked for a while, until I realised that “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks”, and the same can be said for actions as well. It wasn’t the alcohol making me do those things, it was my brokenness that wanted to do those things…the alcohol just lay down all my inhibitions and brought out the sinfulness that’s already in my heart.
And it really does feel freeing being drunk…really does…but then in the morning you wake up and you are filled with regrets, and that is not freedom! Freedom sets you free…freedom feels free…it feels good…it does not feel like a hangover…or a “oh crap I said/did that last night”…
I recently discovered that freedom is not being able to do or say whatever you want when you want – that more often than not leads to you getting hurt or hurting someone else… Freedom is found in living by the principles that lead to an abundant life. Freedom releases you to love, be loved, be in community, all that good stuff…freedom is not found in hiding, in hurt, in regret. One of my favorite passages in William Young’s “The Shack” is when Papa says to Mack that the Truth shall set you free, and the Truth has a name…Freedom is found in walking with the Truth (i’m paraphrasing).
So I’m learning to walk in the Truth…with The Truth…I’m trying to depend fully on him…trying to lean on him…and find my freedom in him.
Freedom in Love!
I’m super tired tonight so this might not make any sense. Anyway, reading through the parable of the prodigal son for the ump-teenth time I realise that I have actually been on both sides of that sibling-ness ( I did warn you that it might not make sense).
Of course we’ve all been the prodigal son. The story of the prodical son is about each and every one of us. How we’ve all rebelled against the Father and went our own way. We’ve all turned away from God’s good-ness. And yet he patiently waits for us to re-turn to him (where did I read that re-turn thing?) and repent and each time, he invites us back into His family. He reminds us that we are sons and not slaves; that we do not need to work for His forgiveness, he gives it to us freely. (this other guy Jon explains it so much better…i tried to find the post where he talks about it but couldn’t, but go through his site…or all three of them…you won’t be disappointed).
I can totally relate with this dude cos I felt like this for most of my life. While other parents were struggling with their children and dealing with rebelious teenagers, my parents never went through that. I was honestly a good kid. As much as I wanted my freedom and wanted to be like all my friends, I instead went the good-little girl route…well at least as far as people could see. It bugged me though that my parents took that for granted. I actually said that to my mom the other day…how lucky they are to have me and my sister…how lucky they are that we were too obedient to live the lives we really wanted to live. I asked her if she realised that my sister and I are not normal, she said yes…but she figures it’s because they were such great parents…uhm…well, she’s entitled to her own opinion.
I can’t wait for my brother to reach 15/16 – they already have their hands full with that one and he gets away with so much…just cos he’s the boy (if you ever saw the show “8 simple rules for dating my teenage daughter” you’ll understand that reference, I hope). Maybe once he hits proper rebelion then they’ll start appreciating the non-prodigals that my sister and I were.
On the other hand, I realised for the first time in Namibia (or actually, Brett pointed it out to me) that the bible never says that after the talk with the father the elder son went into the party. I always assumed he did, but I don’t know that for sure. Unforgiveness? Bitterness? Jealousy? I don’t want that to be me. I wanna move on from that. I want to be free. I wanna live the abundant life…and that only comes with uncluttering your life and freeing yourself (or letting Joshua Davidson free you) from all that baggage. (Yay, I just snuck in a reference to Brett’s preach this past sunday…so unintended – that is so weird how it just snuck in there…and how it all just fits…God is good!).