Finding Freedom Now

Losing the Power, posted earlier this month (click to read), painted a picture of walking free from the power of condemnation for all my wrongs. I had been in Christ many years without experiencing freedom from condemnation due to ignorance, despite reading the Bible. My eyes were opened to what had been mine all along in Christ when I read these verses anew:

Romans 8:1-2 NIV Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

With the help of these same verses, this post will take you a little further on my personal journey of losing and finding. Parking on the latter words of this passage, I contemplate this law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus that has set me free from the law of death. The more I focus on the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, the more all else fades in comparison – even death.

mini-cross of hopeWhen I believed Jesus to be who He claimed – the Savior of the world – I received His Spirit of life. Now I am alive in Christ Jesus . . . forever. Christ Jesus is alive forever, and I live in Him, so I am alive eternally, as well. Already alive forever. Not waiting until my physical body stops working. Now. When my body gives up, my eternal life will continue living in Christ without even a slight pause – simply in a form no longer hindered by mortality. 1

This excites me beyond words and radically changes my perspective on the loss of life as I know it now.   Fear of death is lost to me. What is to fear when I am in Christ? The Romans verse clearly states I am free now (and it’s always now!) from the condemnation that could separate me forever from God. The penalty for my sin, and its justifiable condemnation, was paid in full in Jesus’ suffering and death. It’s gone forever, and along with it, the separation mandated by it. In Christ’s resurrection, I was raised to new and forever life in His Spirit. Death and the fear of it are lost to me now – forever – because I am Daddy’s child.

This is real now, when I’m not at death’s door, and it will be real after my last breath. But it will also be real at the end of my life, evident in the loss of torment often associated with those last days – torment rooted in regrets and remorse and doubts about a less-than-perfect life. Fear of death is lost to me forever, driven out by the perfect love of my Father. 2 Freedom is found – now.

The final verse of In Christ Alone, a familiar hymn, captures the glorious freedom and victory of which I have written:

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

For the final in this series, click to read Lost and Found.

1 1 Corinthians 15:50-57

2 1 John 4:18

It’s Really Okay

My mother, Edella Walker, at age 16.

I do not hate my mother.  I loved her and she loved me.  I just want to make that clear before you read any more of this post.  Furthermore, even though this relates to the relationship with my mother, that’s really only the surface issue, as you will see.  It’s the heart of the matter, wrong thoughts I’ve believed for so long, that’s important.  And it’s what the Lord spoke to the heart of my matter that I believe will minister to you, as well.

On March 18, 1987, my mother died of cancer.  I was only 31 at the time, with two young children – too young to be motherless.  Nevertheless, it is the fact.  I mourned for a few months, until the weekend I visited my father where we experienced my mother’s last days together.  Though we had a close relationship beforehand, there was a special connection forged by living those last days together.  Our conversation naturally centered on what we had gone through and all the details.  We didn’t have to explain anything to each other, nor did we have to withhold anything because of discomfort from someone who hadn’t been right there.  The conversations of that weekend completed my grief process, even my mourning.  In the ensuing years, there have been a few moments I considered what it might have been like with Mom around, but not with tears or sadness.

Though I still remember the events clearly, especially as the anniversary of her death approaches, those memories come with no emotions – good or bad.  I simply remember.  Twenty-five years after-the-fact, I wanted to record in my journal, though I really had nothing in my heart to write.  But God.  It turns out He was the One stirring me to write, because He had a bigger purpose for me than simply remembering an event.  Daddy wanted to apply more of His love to an area in my life I didn’t even know was there, so I could walk in greater measure of His freedom in Christ.  May the Lord also minister to you through what follows.

It’s 25 years today since Mom died.  There is no sadness in that statement, and hasn’t been for so many years.  Yet, I have felt condemned because of my lack of sadness.  After 25 years, though, I feel relieved. Like I’ve crossed some imaginary boundary between unacceptable and acceptable.  As if I am free to admit my lack of emotions to others without them thinking less of me, now that it’s been a quarter of a century.      

Condemnation is not from You, Lord, so help me break free completely.  I see.  Who have I been trying to hide my feelings from?  Who are these people who would think less of me?  It’s this invisible “they” the enemy has used to keep me caught up in this condemnation and guilt trap.  It’s kept me from being honest with myself . . . and You, and not letting You help me through.  And now I hear in my spirit, “It’s really okay.”  My Lord is saying it’s okay that I am not sad about Mom, or that I really don’t even miss her, and haven’t for a long time.  It’s really okay.

And with that, I walk free from something that has bound me for 25 years.  The scales have come off my eyes, and I now live in freedom where I’ve known only condemnation.  In those simple words, my Father has broken through with the assurance of His love.  There is no condemnation for not having emotions that match what the world considers normal.  Nor would there be if I were still emotional so long after Mom’s leaving.  He loves me.  I am His child, and I have life – and freedom – in Christ Jesus.  It’s that simple.  And it’s that freeing.  It’s really okay!

Romans 8:1-2 NIV  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,  2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

Freedom to Be

I am a spirit being with a soul (mind, will, and emotions) and a body.  If I really know and understand this, why do I continue to allow my mind to compartmentalize what I do as either spiritual or non-spiritual, as either of value to God or as keeping me from things that are of value to Him?

This is not the first time I’ve battled this issue, but it’s time to settle it for good.  When Jesus ministered on this earth in His physical body, having received the same Holy Spirit now living in me, His whole life was spiritual.  Think about it.  When He paid taxes to the government, a spiritual principle was at work – paying taxes to whom taxes were due.  He ate physical food as sustenance for His physical body, taking time away from the “important” things of life.  He walked, physically, from one place to the next, probably spending some of that valuable time simply laughing and living with the disciples, rather than teaching or preaching “spiritual” things. At the same time, He was the most relaxed, worry-free, anxiety-free, stress-free person to have lived, which means He was never separated from His Father in Spirit or action until the cross!  Because He remained in the secret place at all times, regardless of where He was physically, all He did was spiritual – for the glory of God.

Psalm 91:1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand]. AMP

1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. NIV

Jesus Christ lives in me by His Spirit.  If Jesus didn’t struggle with this, why do I continue to go back to this old mindset?  It only causes frustration.  When I do those things that are required for basic living – cooking, cleaning, shopping, exercising, washing the car or the dog, etc. – a nagging thought goes on in the back of my mind that I’m being kept from the spiritual.  Then, I feel guilty for not doing those “spiritual” things, and I don’t live fully in the now.  Like Paul said, “Who will rescue me from this body?  Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25) That’s not how Jesus lived then, and it’s not how He lives in me now.

Jesus’ Spirit is alive in me.  That is where I choose to dwell.  In this place, whether I eat, sleep, exercise, shop, pray, read the Bible, teach, or whatever else, there is no condemnation, no imaginary line of separation between spiritual and non-spiritual.  My life is hidden with Christ in God.1 It is all for His purposes and glory.  If I live and move and have my being in Him,2 what part of me is not included?  None!

So, today I’m slamming that door on guilt and condemnation,3 locking it, and throwing away the key.  It was for freedom that Christ set me free, no longer to be subject to any yoke of slavery,4 so that’s what I choose going forward.  I rejoice in His freedom to be the one He’s called me to be, all facets included: child of Abba Daddy, wife, mother, teacher, grandmother, cook, writer, book reader, pray-er, exerciser, praiser, friend, housecleaner, dog owner, student of God’s Word, etc.

Won’t you join me in this glorious freedom to be5 in Christ – all day, every day?

1 Colossians 3:3
2 Acts 17:28
3 Romans 8:1-2
4 Galatians 5:1
5 Romans 8:21