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Determined to be Free; Free to be Determined – Br. John Braught

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Matthew 5:43-48

The freedom we enjoy in this country is hard won. Men and Women fought and are fighting for this country so we can be free. Fighting so we can be free to govern our lives as we wish; fighting so we can be free to live the lives we choose.

This is not the kind of freedom Jesus promises. The kind of freedom Jesus promises does not depend on us doing what we want, or living the lives we choose. True freedom of the spirit, as Jesus provides it, is having peace when we can’t do what we want. It’s being forgiving when people get in our way, and we can’t live the lives we choose. It’s being loving when we are disappointed, and even hurt by other people. True freedom of the spirit is being able to meet the conditions of our lives consistently, no matter how agreeable or disagreeable, no matter how good or bad other people behave, true freedom of the spirit is being able to meet the conditions of our lives consistently, with peace, with forgiveness, and with love. 

And it’s impossible. But it’s what being perfect is all about. Perfect in the sense that our heavenly Father is perfect, which is what Jesus asks us to be, perfect.

“Perfect” here comes from the Greek word “telios”, which means end or purpose. It can also mean complete, whole, of one piece, consistent. Something is “telios”, perfect, when it has fulfilled the purpose for which it is created. God’s purpose is love. God is love. God’s end and God’s beginning are the same. God is telios. God is perfect. God is love.

And God is free in this sense.  Free in the sense that God is determined by nothing other than Himself, and his purpose.  God is free in the sense that God is determined by nothing other than himself and his purpose.  God’s purpose is love. God is love, and nothing whatsoever can come between us and that love. No matter how good or bad, worthy or unworthy, righteous or unrighteous we may think we are, God makes the sun rise and the rain fall on fertile as well as parched land. God’s purpose is love. God is love.  God’s end and God’s beginning are the same, and nothing can come between that. God is telios. God is perfect. God is love.

We are made in the image and likeness of God.

So Jesus tells us to love – our neighbors, as well as our enemies. Jesus tells us to forgive, even when we are wronged, repeatedly. Jesus tells us to have peace – when things aren’t going our way, and we’re afraid we won’t get what we need.  Jesus tells us that true spiritual freedom is being able to meet the conditions of our lives consistently with love, with forgiveness, and with peace. Jesus tells us to be perfect.

And it’s impossible. Humanly speaking it’s impossible, and maybe you’ve had the experience, where no matter how much you may want to love, no matter how much you may want to forgive, no matter how much you may want to have peace, no matter how much you know – in your heart – that that’s the kind of person you really are, you just can’t bring it into reality. It’s because our spiritual freedom –  the freedom to love, to forgive, and have peace no matter what the conditions of our lives – our spiritual freedom is not hard won. Our spiritual freedom is not hard won, it is given. We don’t need to fight, we don’t need to struggle to win our spiritual freedom. What we need to do is surrender, let go, wave the white flag, give up – our need to control, perhaps?  Our need to be effective? Our need to be right?

Made in the image and likeness of God, it is for freedom that God has made us, and it is God’s purpose for us that we be free. When we stop fighting – with each tiny surrender – we get a little freer, freer to meet the condition of our lives with love, with forgiveness, and with peace, seemingly with no effort on our part. The effort is in the surrender. We won’t do this perfectly, but every time we do we are perfect, just as our Heavenly Father is perfect: made for freedom, it is God’s purpose for us that we be free. True independence of the spirit, to become precisely the people God created us to be.

 

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2 Comments

  1. janet on July 17, 2014 at 22:40

    Thank you for these words. I will sit with them many times in coming days…..

  2. Jane Byers on July 7, 2014 at 10:17

    Is this having peace in spite of circumstances a gift of grace. I try real hard, and surrender and wait on The Lord asking him to change my perspective but, I don’t get peace. I just get sadness and sorrow. I am learning to thank God for adversity but I don’t have peace.

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