WHERE IS THE FREEDOM HE PROMISED?
Jesus said to the Jews who had believed on him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” John 8:31
Abiding in the Word is not to learn a body of biblical knowledge. There are many who fancy the stories of the Bible, are taken with the semantics and nuances of advanced biblical doctrines, yet they are not free at all. Their personal lives remain unchanged. Their family relationships are strained and impersonal. Their inner world is fraught with deception and they are oblivious to it. They are self-impressed and blind to their lack of spiritual power. Because they are interested in spiritual things, they can not see their emptiness. But just ask their spouses or their children. They will tell you that they ache to see and experience Jesus even though they hear a lot of Jesus-talk.
Abiding in the Word is to live in Jesus, thrill to hear Him personalize His Word to my own life, and once spoken, to live in a new truth. Freedom comes when I apply what I learned from sitting at His feet. Here is the process of interacting with the WORD.
- I ask for Him to open my heart to His Word, to touch my ears, eyes, and understanding.
- I hear the Word and begin to meditate on it.
- I ask the Holy Spirit to personalize it to my current way of thinking, feeling, and living.
- Most often, I am put in conflict. His Word challenges me and falls like a sword to my private inner thoughts.
- To settle the conflict, I abandon my way and embrace His way.
- I get up and apply His new way and only when I do that, does it become mine.
- Freedom is on the other side of application.
It is only as I make these steps a daily way of life that I will know freedom. Many of God’s children believe that freedom comes simply by osmosis. They are disenchanted with their lives and privately wonder why the claims of Christ haven’t brought them the freedom it promises. They would argue that they occasionally read the Word, that they hearing rousing sermons on Sunday, that they ‘believe’ Jesus. But there is no knowledge of what it really means to abide in the Word. Freedom from our pasts, our guilt, our habits and addictions, our tortuous inner thoughts, will be elusive as long there is not consistent meditation and application. Knowing a lot about Jesus just creates a divided kingdom between the head and the heart. The head is puffed up and the heart is desperately wicked.
The Pharisees knew a lot but missed Jesus. Their life-long spiritual education blinded them to a personal need of a Savior.
I wait for Your Word for today. Search me, prove me, challenge me, and then give me the grace to apply Your personal message. Amen