Thursday, January 10, 2013

Freedom in Jesus Means Hope for Tomorrow

25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.  26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  –Galatians 3:25-28 (KJV)

As I write this today, I reflect back on the time when I experienced my “face in my hands” morning.  This is the morning about 12 years ago when I sat on the side of my bed with my face in hands wondering how I was going to get up and deal with the world.  This was the beginning of six long years of my personal battle with clinical depression.  I later wrote extensively about those dark days in my book, “The Invitation: Embracing a Happier Life.”  During the spring of 2006, the Lord began to work in my life in powerful ways, which resulted in recovery from depression and the development of strategies for coping with this condition.  I continue to practice these strategies every day, one of which is writing this blog. 

If you are in a similar cave of despair, please know the Lord loves you and will lift you out of whatever dark place you have found yourself.  Keep going forward and do not give up.  There is hope in Jesus Christ for a brighter day – I believe this with all my heart!

Part of my recovery and ongoing plan for managing depressive symptoms is to focus on Jesus Christ and the freedom He offers.  As I have said before, our freedom in Christ involves freedom to serve God with a full heart unencumbered by the chains of sin and guilt.  Christ has overcome these for us through His redemptive work on the cross and His resurrection.  Our freedom is never to be a license to sin or be rebellious.  Instead, we are free to love, forgive one another, walk in faith without the weight of coping with life in our strength.  I know from personal experience that we cannot face life’s struggles in our power.  The power of Christ is more than sufficient for us and He will empower us to face the trials of life.

When we try to please God by trying to be good, we end up becoming bound up in the chains of legalism.  This is where we try to be in God’s will by obeying certain rules and regulations.  We think that if we try to obey the Ten Commandments enough that God will be happy with us.  Paul the Apostle referred to the law, of trying to keep the commandments, as our “schoolmaster.”  In Jesus Christ, we are free from this old master, which we can never live up to, and have become the “children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”  As the old hymn says, “Freed from the law, oh happy condition.” 

God loves you, my friend.  You cannot save yourself; neither can you live up to God’s perfect standards.  However, Jesus Christ has solved this problem, for in Him there is hope, life, redemption, and salvation.  Yes, you have problems, faults, and hang-ups.  God loves you anyway!

God bless you today.