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Mar 13

In Other Words: True Freedom

“Any concept of grace that makes us feel more comfortable sinning
is not Biblical grace.
God’s grace never encourages us to live in sin,
on the contrary,
it empowers us to say no to sin and yes to truth.”

~ Randy Alcorn

This seems such a difficult concept for many people . . . . there is the notion that being “free” to do any old thing that pops into our heads is the best way to live. But in reality, that is not “freedom” at all. Living our lives as if there are no boundaries, no rules, and no laws only sets us up for a life of misery in which we will eventually fall prey to the debilitating effects of sin. Consistently making choices that are contrary to the teachings of Scripture ultimately lead to a life of bondage . . . . to sin.

We may think that it is great fun to be “free” to go places and do things that other people in our lives might not approve of. But that is quite irrelevant to reality. What other people think holds no power over us; but violating God’s rules for living have clear and absolute consequences. Have you ever wondered about all those “other people,” those who seem to “get away with murder”? What about that person who betrayed you, or lied about you, or spread gossip about you? Why do I not see the consequences in their life?

Well, that is because you either are not looking or their current “consequences” are not completely public . . . . yet. So do not think that just because someone else seems to have “gotten away with it,” that your perception is reality. God’s time is not our time, so be patient. And for sure do not allow that notion to turn your heart bitter and convince you that you, too, can be “free” to sin and there will be no consequences. No, true freedom comes from having the power of the Living God within you, guiding you and giving you the wisdom to live a life that is pleasing to Him.

Not too long ago one of our daughters (apparently having heard something on the news that prompted this question!) asked me, “Mama, what should I do if I am in a dark alley and a stranger is following me?” Alrighty, then . . . . not the kind of thing that this Mama would prefer that her daughter be worrying about . . . . but then, we probably should discuss this kind of thing some time so how about now?

“Well, Honey, what do you think you should do?” I asked, trying to understand where this type of question might be coming from since we live out in the country, by a lake, with friendly neighbors, and not a single, solitary “dark alley” anywhere around. “I should probably find an adult and ask for help?” she suggested, obviously not sure if this would work out so well. I mean, what if that particular adult is just as “bad” as the perceived “stranger in the dark alley”?

“That might work, if there was another adult around who might be safe,” I countered, ready to hyperventilate at the very thought of my child in this situation. “But, how about this . . . . ” I suggested, trying to make all of it seem a bit less menacing. “Perhaps if you just stay out of dark alleys . . . . . . ” I said, leaving the conclusion up to her. So that was an open door for us to discuss life choices, whether those choices would include walking alone down a dark alley, or choosing to go down to the lake alone, or ride her bike on the road after dark, among other things.

And eventually we did discuss the danger that is associated with other choices that could be made in life, such as drinking and drugs, appropriate dress and modesty, and lots of other things that our children will encounter as they grow up. I wish I could, I wish I might, protect my little girls every night . . . . for the rest of their lives. But I can’t so it is my job to take these teachable moments and help them to understand that true freedom is the freedom to do what is RIGHT – freedom is not about taking unnecessary and unwise chances to do something that could eventually lead to bondage and slavery to sin. Freedom is not about going places and doing things that could bring physical, emotional, or spiritual harm. That is not freedom!

As we look at God’s Word and the world around us, we do need to be careful not to be looking for excuses or openings or opportunities to sin. And we are silly indeed if we think that God’s Word ever “gives permission” to sin. As the Apostle Paul exclaimed in his declaration of the incredible gift of God’s grace: “What? Should we sin even more so that God’s grace may abound?” Of course not, that is ridiculous! Sin does NOT equal freedom, it is that simple. Sin will always result in consequences, even though God’s grace is sufficient for our complete and undeserved forgiveness.

No, true freedom comes from the power that is found only in God’s Word, where we discover that we have His Spirit to guide us and strengthen us along our way, that we are the ones who are truly free . . . . we have the choice to say “yes” to the truth and “no” to the bondage of sin. That is an important concept for our children to learn and hide in their hearts, so that when they are confronted with one of those choices from which we cannot forever protect them . . . . they will know that the truth, indeed, will set them free. Free to obey God, knowing that when they fall He is right there to pick them us, dust them off, forgive them and love them, and send them on their way. Because after all, He loves them so much more than we do!

If you would like to join us this week for In Other Words, please visit Urailak at her blog, Living for God.” Please leave a link to your post on this quote and then stop by and visit some of the other participants . . . . and be sure to leave a comment so they know you were there!

4 comments

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  1. Debbie

    What a great example you used regarding your daughter’s question regarding dark alleys. Stay out of dark alleys please! 🙂

    I am sometimes overwhelmed by God’s grace. Nothing I can do will earn that for me. I simply received it and as a result, I am so humbled and thankful. I want my motivation to please Him to always be due to love and not rules.

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie

  2. Esthermay

    That you characterize the effects of sin as “debilitating” is spot-on accurate. Not only in the life of the one who chooses sin, but for all around him/her. Wow! And that as parents we have to protect our little ones from the debilitation is more proof of the need for HIS amazing grace! Grace is a process — like sanctification… I don’t think we’ll ever fully understand it — or appreciate it — or receive it… until we see Him.

    …Grace is one of my favorite topics. That you tie it into how it affects our children is very special:-))

    Have a wonderful week, Nina:-))
    ~esthermay

  3. Urailak @Living for God

    Wonderful post. God’s grace gives us freedom from sin, not freedom to sin. It’s great that you took advantage of teachable moments. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and linking up with IOW this week.

  4. Cindy

    I love that you remind us that our perception is not our reality. Love it. I say that all the time so I will remember too. There is more going on than I will ever realize.

    Thank you for participating today.

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