What a year 2013 was!!! In short it was (Fire by Night and new friends, the Proposal, long months of waiting, Encounter God’s Presence youth camp, confirmation of our calling, marriage, honeymoon in Mexico, beginning of Gibson’s Go Global, flying to NYC on Sept 11, Circuit Riders in Norway, YWAM and Fire Starters in Scotland, Christmas and New Year in Newcastle) not that short. I know for many of us, this was a busy year and we should be able to look back and see how we have changed. If there has been no change between this year and last year, it is seriously time to examine if we are walking in God’s will. I am not talking about a physical location, although in our case it obviously was. I am talking about how you have changed in your relationship with The Lord. I encourage you to review your year with Holy Spirit and see what you find out.
This morning, God has given me an encouragement that I want to pass on to you:
Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
I can see as I look back over my life, even in the last year, how much that God has brought me into greater and greater freedom. He has strengthened us and empowered us to walk in this new freedom. Even when we are tempted to fall back into old things, we have the strength to stand fast!!! We must stand in the freedom that Christ has bought with so great a price and not go back to having bent and broken backs under the weight and oppression of sin that the enemy deceives us into thinking is better somehow. Do not be entangled again, but walk in the glorious freedom that has been given to us!!!
What kind of freedom is this? Unrestrained selfish freedom? Of course not!!! We know that is not freedom but only bondage to ourselves. A few verses later, we see the freedom that is called for:
Galatians 5:13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
This is not a selfish fleshly freedom, but a freedom in Holy Spirit that encourages us to love others in greater and greater ways. We like to explain the freedom of The Lord as we can say, do, watch, listen to whatever we want because we are free in Christ. Through this verse, we see that our freedom is not to be one that satisfies our flesh, but we are spiritually free to love and serve others with our actions. It is such a tragedy in my mind when Christians talk down the standards of other Christians or try to get them to compromise their convictions. There was one instance I know of that everyone was watching a movie with some coarse language. They knew that there was a girl who did not watch or listen to anything with language as much as she could control. Knowing this, the girls apologized to her, but were unwilling to turn off the movie. This was neither loving or serving this girl or the standards Holy Spirit had set up for her. Was this godly freedom? I think not!!! This was the selfish freedom that leads into bondage but no one saw the deception of the enemy.
I am so glad for those who call us to higher standards with their freedom of loving and serving. One quick story, while in YWAM my leader Sage was constantly challenging me in a healthy way. The week before we went to Outreach in Cambodia, we had a team fast. Getting through that was okay, but then he tells me that he is going to do a Daniel fast for the first 40 days of the trip. My thought is “Good luck pal!!!” Then, thinking of all that we wanted God to accomplish and why we were really there, I decided that I would join him. He did not pressure me or even ask me to join him. I was just encouraged to walk with Him in freedom as we loved and served each other. You know I look back now and do not regret one moment of that fast. Yes, it was extremely hard, but I believe that God is worth it!!!
I encourage you as this New Year begins 2014, stand fast in the freedom God has given you and walk in it in such a way that the people around you are affected by the freedom, love, and service you have for them. I pray that those around you who are the closest and those who barely know you will be called to the deeper and greater things of The Lord because of the consecrated life of freedom you are walking in!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!