Our church is in a teaching series about the concept of freedom now. With plenty of reason - it is a dominant theme in the Bible, perhaps never more clearly than in Galatians 5:1:
"It is for freedom that Christ has set you free..."
Check out the double emphasis - Christ (through his life, death, and resurrection) has set us free...for the very purpose of freedom.
Which raises the question - what are we intended to be free FROM?
These things, at least.
Freedom from religion.
Yep, I said it. Religion - when it is humanly created - leads to either self-righteousness or self-condemnation. It leads to the nearly universal human impulse to believe that it is up to me to find my way to God, to give him a good track record so he will accept me. Nothing could be further from the truth of the Christian faith, which says that God has found his way to us and that he has given us credit for Christ's track record, since ours could never measure up.
Freedom from fear.
The worst human fear is death. Christ defeated death on the cross. So we don't have to fear death anymore. Follow the logic...if we don't have to fear the worst thing that could happen, why should we fear anything else?
Picture this....a father hides his little son behind him and wards off the array of ninja assassins who invade their house one night. One by one, the killers drop dead, harmless.
Suddenly, the boy spies a spider scampering across the floor. Does it stand to reason to doubt that his dad can take care of that for him?
This doesn't mean that fearful and even terrible things won't happen. But it does mean that death can't do its worst to us.
Freedom from failure
I'm preaching on this topic in a few weeks and so I am thinking about it a lot. Not going to give away the punch line, but suffice it to say that its truth is rooted in the fact that Jesus failed.
That's right. Jesus failed.
Never had much of a following beyond a ragtag bunch of liars, dreamers, and misfits. Continually got himself in hot water. Left his family baffled and disapproving in some cases. Could have had powerful allies but managed to alienate them all (he was a terrible networker). Got arrested and chose to represent himself in court - everything he said during the proceedings worked against his own interests. Got himself killed at a relatively early age after being publicly mocked and beaten up.
He rose from the dead. And is, by far, the most influential person in the history of the world, worshipped by untold millions, fascinating to even those who hate him.
So, what do you think he can do with YOUR failures?
Turn them into roaring triumphs, that's what.
So, what are you afraid of?