Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Freedom

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

Laying aside hindrances, running with freedom.

We just started a new study by Cynthia Heald called "Becoming a Woman of Freedom". It is about throwing off the hindrances that slow us down or distract us. In the Hebrews passage above, our Christian walk is compared to a race. I picture that "great cloud of witnesses" (which includes the saints who have gone before mentioned in the "hall of faith" chapter in Hebrews, like Abraham, Noah, etc) I picture them up there cheering us on..."C'mon! You can do it!! Keep going! NO! Don't get distracted with that!!"

The first hindrance we talked about throwing off is our own propensity to take ourself in hand. To be in control. Relinquishing control to the Lord is freeing. Trying to control is frustrating. It is a paradox that to be truly free, we must surrender control to The One Who has made provision for our freedom!

Of course the parallel of Israel being delivered from slavery to Egypt was brought to our attention. Their freedom meant they needed to obey God and things would go well for them. As we know, when they didn't have things the way they wanted, they complained and wanted to go back to slavery, and it brough destruction to some of the complainers. Isn't it intresting that bondage becomes so comfortable to us?

I have a neighbor who has many ills, including alcoholism and family disfunction all around her. I have spent much time listening to her and encouraging her when she has been struggling. I have offered to do a study with her, I brought a study to her, I have invited her to church several times, told her about an "addicts recovery" meeting there once a week, and she is unwilling to take any of those steps to find freedom. She actually said she is too lazy to look up verses in the Bible. I also told her about Teen Challenge, and the nurturing environment that is there. Her response is, "I couldn't leave my dogs and my husband for a year." It grieves me that there are helps available for her to gain her freedom, but she is unwilling. She would rather stay miserable it seems.

I know, change is scary. We get comfortable with our habits and walls and masks.

But they are hindrances making our journey heavy, and full of burdens. Whether it be fear, worry, the past, pleasing people, bitterness, anxiety, or other obstacles. All of them slow us down or trip us up.

So, we are on a quest for more freedom from those things in the weeks ahead. I'll share our journey with you...

The foundation of freedom we find, is setting aside the old way, and walking God's way. Saying "no" to sin in all it's forms, and "yes" to God. FREEDOM IS A CHOICE TO TRUST AND OBEY.
Anything else is bondage. Let's walk free!

11 comments:

~Trina~ said...

Wonderful post. I love that scripture. I'm praying for you as you continue to make efforts to minister to your neighbor. Praying of her too that God will break through to her spirit.

Joyful said...

Kathy, I love the idea of "running with freedom." I hate the fear that so often causes me to stumble. My 'run' too often becomes a walk...a limping walk at that.

Sorry to read about your neighbour. It's like Beth Moore writes about in her book, "Get out of the Pit". Sometimes we get pushed in, sometimes we fall in, but other times we jump in. We choose our pit and choose to remain in it. I trust the Lord will give you wisdom in reaching out and ministering to her.

Hope you had a great day!
Hugs,
Joy

Van said...

While out visiting I dropped in. Your neighbor is not aware of the blessings right next door. Don't ever give up on her.

Kathy S. said...

Thanks girls, for your encouragement with my neighbor. I haven't given up on her. She has given up on me at this time since I failed to return a phone call. So if you are praying, thank you! Pray that she can forgive me and I will follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit in how to best minister Christ's love.

Cherie Wilson said...

Hi there! I saw your post on Susie Larson's blog today and wondered if you have resources on purity issues you researched? I am leading a group of 6 Juniors and Seniors and have had that on my mind!! Susie is a dear that we met at a conference at our church last year, by the way! Freedom, sweet Freedom is a theme for her new book, as you know and I love your post on it as well. Thanks so much! Cherie Wilson

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Sounds like an awesome study! Yes, we do make the choice to be free, but getting someone else to see that (getting myself to realize that) is a sometimes difficult doing.

Enjoy the study with your friends. There's nothing like breaking bread together with some sisters alongside.

peace~elaine

Tea With Tiffany said...

Great to read you are diving into this study! Loved the end of your post. Strong words. Trust and obey..Yeah!

My word for this year is freedom. I'm learning to surrender all and walk in his ways in a deeper way. It's an amazingly better way to trust GOD. I used to try hard to figure everything out. And I had my share of hinderances/sins!

Time to dump them and run the race!

B His Girl said...

Your post reminded me of Jesus' question to the man laying beside the pool who 'couldn't' get in. "Do you want to be healed?' Sometimes we had rather complain or lay down wounded than seek the touch of Jesus. I pray your neighbor gets tired of being stuck. Great post Kathy. Thanks. Maybe you should print out this passage for her?

A Stone Gatherer said...

Ah Ha! Now I see! The statement you made about "bondage being comfortable" isn't that so true!!! My bondage to food was and is comfortable. It is what I know. Having to rethink my every move when it comes to eating takes only what God can give me! Great post Kathy!

Tracy said...

Amen, Amen! What an awesome passage...it's always been one of my favorites, but recently has come to mean even more to me.

Fear has often hindered me from claiming all that God has for me. Little by little, as I surrender, God is giving more and more freedom to conquer those fears.

Reading about your neighbor breaks my heart. I have a couple of people who are dear to me in similar situations, who also choose to remain stuck there. I'll definitely pray for you as you continue to reach out to her...that God will grant you wisdom and that He will tender her heart to His voice.

Blessings, sweet one.
Tracy

P.S. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words to me. = )

MoziEsmé said...

Praying for your neighbor. It often seems difficult to make the first step, but it is so rewarding...

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