© 2008 by Deidre Campbell-Jones
JULY Theme: Freedom
Bondage: John 8:32-36
Freedom: Proverbs 3:5
Again last month, I missed the last lesson in the series on Fathers. I had been diligently working on my book and on that Friday it was finally completed and had the printer’s final approval for publication. My proof copy had been ordered, the book was made available on Amazon.com, and I was ecstatic! I felt so free from that months-long project that I absolutely forgot about the Friday bible study.
Then as the next week as the 4th of July began to approach I knew I wanted to begin a series on “freedom”. How appropriate I thought the messages would be not only for this time of year, but also for this exciting new time in my life. But by Friday, no words or thoughts would come.
And it is truly not as if I procrastinated or purposely delayed the writing of the message because nothing was coming to me, but instead I was truly busy. You see, the writing of my book was not the end of the project I have been working on. In fact, it is truly the beginning. It is to be the start of a series of speaking presentations and the first on is scheduled this coming Friday, the 10th in Sacramento, CA. Once I completed the book I really didn’t have the time to rest and rejoice as if the project was over, because there was so much more to do.
But in my heart, that was just an excuse. Physically, my time and all my activities in life are a slave to the production of this event on the 10th. I am in bondage to the successful completion of this awesome task before me. However, spiritually, I am also a slave and in bondage to the Lord, whom I believe has given me this ultimate task. And as of late, I have been in such turmoil that indeed, writing about “freedom” seems nearly impossible. Generally I feel I can only teach that which I have learned.
John 8:32 – “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” But a person cannot be “made” free if they are already free. Only those in bondage can be freed. And in fact, that was the very next question the disciples asked of Jesus when he made this statement in verse 32. They said, “We are descendants of Abraham! We have never been in bondage to any man! How can you say you will set us free?”
His disciples had been living their whole lives as if they were free and never once knew that they were in bondage; slaves and not actually free. I was in bondage to the completion of that book and for a moment, when it was done, I forgot that I was not actually free.
And in my salvation, in this walk with God, I have had many, many experiences when I have felt such freedom, that it has not been until this project that I realized, I am not yet entirely free indeed. In John 8:36, Jesus completes the answer to the disciples question about being bondage with this statement: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” Of course, I felt freedom from my sins when I first came to Christ. And along the way as I have grown and grown closer to God I have felt more and more free.
Only through Christ does the idea of “surrender” bring freedom. In war when an opposing enemy surrenders, they become voluntary prisoners. There is no physical freedom until the war is over. But through Christ, to surrender to Him means a complete abandonment of that which you are surrendering and the freedom in that is intoxicating! Most of the time…
It seems the hardest thing I have yet to abandon to God is not my life; my sin; my money; my family or even my soul – it is my understanding. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” I have an understanding that God has directed me to write this book and do these presentations. I have had a fundamental understanding as to how to accomplish those goals. In the end, my understanding of how to write and publish a book, had very little to do with the writing and publishing of that book.
Any reasonable human being would surmise that the same would apply to the events. In other words, God wanted me to write a book; He made it possible for me to write the book and the book was written. There was freedom in abandoning that process to God and the reward was freedom indeed. Ask me if I’ll write another book and I’ll eagerly respond in the affirmative.
These events currently are a different matter. It seems that I cannot release myself to God’s understanding. My turmoil is that my understanding of the matter makes the successful completion of them (and Sacramento in particular) an absolute impossibility. As I look at the matter by sight and not by faith, it is frightening to lean not unto my own understanding. It would mean a complete abandonment of all that is reasonable, logical and possible according to my own understanding.
And so, until such a time as the Son makes me free, I am indeed still in bondage.
Yesterday was Independence Day. Many of us hung out with friends, ate BBQ, played in the sunshine, swam in pools and enjoyed extraordinary fireworks. We may have heard patriotic songs like the National Anthem, God Bless America and America the Beautiful. We may have even seen or participated in a memorial for our veterans and the current soldiers still away at war. But I wonder how few of the majority actually took time to fiercely consider and acknowledge our freedoms – nationally, individually and especially spiritually.
I didn’t. I am still in bondage. And when the Son sets me free, I will then be free indeed. To be continued…