How did I miss this? If I’d known this freedom sooner, maybe I wouldn’t have become caught so long in a trap. After high school, I fell for years into believing I was my own source for guidance.
I first heard Jesus died for me when I earned candies in Sunday School for learning Bible verses. Somehow, it didn’t sink into my yearning heart.
I got the idea He died for an impersonal world, and I felt like just one of the mob. I also got the idea I must strain and worry to make sure I didn’t displease Him. Nobody said this, it’s just what I assumed, and what I sometimes see others assuming now.
So, I became an easy target for deception. I yearned, I thought, for independence. What I really wanted was this bone-deep assurance of perfect, unshakeable, unconditional love and affirmation. The freedom comes from that. From Him.
As children, we’d sometimes ask, “What’d you do that for?” What did Jesus die for?
For freedom, (Galatians 5:1, NIV, NASB, AMP). For me. For you. So we can have, immediately, eternal life. Jesus defines eternal life as knowing God the Father and Jesus whom He sent. (John 17:3)
I can know Him more and more, forever. The freedom He gives includes freedom from the guilt, shame, self-loathing, and eternal penalties of sin. Freedom from death and the grave.
Freedom from life-strangling religious obligations. Jesus summarized all the rules into two— loving God and loving others. Without His love filling me up, I find it impossible to love the unlovable. Even loving my dear ones used to include more selfishness than now. I’m far from where I’d like to be in this, and in all areas, but when I feel discouraged, He changes my focus.
Jesus, Creator and Sustainer of the whole universe, reminds me of how far He’s brought me. He encourages and edifies me, and reminds me He will do all the improvements in loving better, by His power and His Word within me.
And best of all? He assures me my happily-ever-after has already begun. With Him, in Him, by Him, through Him, because He lives in me. It’s the greatest freedom story and the best love story I’ve ever heard.
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