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Monday-Stand Firm This Christmas

 

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

 

Galatians 5:1[1]

 

Freedom is a funny word. Depending on who you talk with, you’ll hear very different definitions. But maybe it’s not really different definitions so much as different degrees.

 

Here in America, freedom is a two-sided coin. One side of freedom means that there are no boundaries at all. It’s like what Jason Philips wrote after his wife’s affair with a fellow band member.

 

You gotta go where you wanna go

Do what you wanna do

With whoever you wanna do it with[2]

 

The other side of the freedom coin is that the more choices, the better. Each of us has the right to an ever-increasing number of choices, and the God-given right to choose.

 

Americans don’t just believe that more is sometimes better, but that more is always, always, always better. More options. More choices. More and more freedom with less and less restrictions.

 

We also think of freedom as just an outward part of life. Freedom lets us express our true selves. No one tells us what to do or say. Having choices and freedom to do what we want, when we want, with who we want.

 

Yes, God made us to be people who enjoy freedom. We were given the gift of choice from God. But God’s definition of freedom and choice has certain limits that were made for his glory, our good, our protection[3].

 

God’s plan and desire for freedom and choice are not to be limited by stuff and life on the outside. No, they are to be motivated by and come from within. Outside rules, laws, checklists, and guidelines can never really stop us from doing anything.

 

No, God wants us to experience his true freedom and choice by having it motivated and energized from within. That’s why he gave his Holy Spirit to live within us. Working with and through our spirit, the Holy Spirit

 

Think about it this way. Jesus didn’t promise to send his Holy Checklist to be in front of us. He didn’t handout his Holy To-Do’s when we received Jesus. He didn’t make eternity with him dependent on jumping through so many hoops.

 

God made us to have a fatherly, loving, and completely transparent relationship with him. He wants us to freely choose him, responding to his love like a child runs to their parent. He came down for us, paying the price to bring us back to him.

 

To try and earn our way to God, to think that we can reach him through obedience to a set of rules and regulations, completely misses the point of who God is. He’s not a cruel taskmaster, driving us, forcing us into a relationship with him where we duck whenever he reaches for us.

 

To think that there is a set of rules that brings us to God is like thinking that a straitjacket will give us freedom. The straitjacket only stops freedom and choice. It cramps our ability to live with and respond to life and love.

 

When we come to the point of seeing that God deeply wants a loving relationship with him, one that’s filled with freedom and choice, then we’re starting to get it. This will energize us to respond to him. To want to live life the way he says.

 

And once we’ve come to that point, he wants us to stand firm in it. God doesn’t want us to be excited for him one minute and indifferent the next. He’s not interested in a relationship where we jump up and down with excitement for him one minute and then tune him out.

 

Standing firm with God, standing firm for God, isn’t a suggestion. It’s not an option. It’s not even a gift from him. It’s a choice. It’s a decision. It’s something that only we can do for ourselves.

 

We are ordered to be standing firm. Not just standing firm for a moment, or for a few minutes. We are to be continually standing firm. We are to be in the business of standing firm. Our business cards and license plates should have “standing firm” printed on them.

 

Standing firm is to be the way we live our lives. It is to be the thing that we desire to do each and every day. Even when faced with problems and difficulties, standing firm is to be our response.

 

When the darkness of life comes, and it's coming, we are to look to him and stand firm. When we’re overwhelmed with the pains of this life, we are to stand firm in the knowledge that he understands and will never leave us.

 

When darkness veils his lovely face,

I rest on his unchanging grace;

in every high and stormy gale,

my anchor holds within the veil.


On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand:

all other ground is sinking sand;

all other ground is sinking sand.[5] 


Funny thing about never leaving us. This means that God is with us through trouble. Trouble doesn’t avoid us. It doesn’t create walls around us like when Israel went through the Red Sea[4]. No, he’s with us in and through trouble.

 

So, how can we do anything but to stand firm?


[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Bible references are from the New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[3] Genesis 2:15-17

[4] Exodus 14:22

[5] My hope is built, Edward Mote (1834)

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