Glory to the light of the world.
For all who wait, for all who hunger, for all who've prayed, for all who wonder.
Behold your King. Behold Messiah. Emmanuel, Emmanuel,
"For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1
I can think of a lot of "yokes" that we submit to, or are submitted to. What are yours? No matter what it is that holds you down, keeps you captive: I believe Jesus Christ has freed you from it. Living in freedom is something most people strive for. But it's also pretty scary! It means leaving behind what we know, what feels safe, and growing into the freedom that we are given. Yesterday we talked about the book "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz. These are the four agreements that he calls "A practical guide to personal freedom":
1 Be Impeccable with Your Word.
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
2 Don't Take Anything Personally.
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
3 Don't Make Assumptions.
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
4 Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse, and regret.
Most people found this some very powerful advice. But we also realized how hard it is to live that way! All we can do is keep working on it and acknowledge that we are often held captive by our own thoughts and feelings. That's where true freedom lies: in ourselves.
As we approach Good Friday, the day that Jesus died to free us from all human bondage, it is a helpful reminder that we are only unfree as long we allow ourselves to be. Freedom is possible. It needs to be worked at and practiced. But it is possible.
"For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."
1 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”;
my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.
5 But I trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.