Introduction

Introduction

Devotional

Glorious Day

“Freedom in Christ? What a joke. It’s anything but freedom…Jesus is keeping me from everything I want to do.”

 

This was my constant inner dialogue as I heard what I thought were theatrical Christians talking about their glorious freedom in Jesus, having been born again and all the joy they were experiencing because of Him. Freedom? Freedom from what?!

I faked it and went along, but inside I was jaded and thought it was all rules. He saves you from Hell and then you have to live the rest of your life following His rules…which kind of became a hell in itself…I felt like a kid in a candy store of life, but with an all-seeing health-nut mom behind me telling me I had to choose something healthy and couldn’t have all the junk I wanted. He kept me from everything I wanted. And so in return, I didn’t want him. I wanted all life had to offer, but the irony was I was dead (Ephesians 2:1-4):

 

“I was breathing, but not alive

All my failures I tried to hide”

 

It originally seemed like a good deal at the time – being 9 years old at summer camp. But then I grew up some and so did my desires. Now Jesus was this cosmic hall monitor, or worse, a parole officer. Sure, He might save me when I die, but in this life He was a big, spiritual hand-slapper to me anytime I got too close to the cookie jars of lust, alcohol, popularity…anything not churchy. And so I hid. I hid all my secret sin and didn’t tell a soul. And my sin hardened my spirit and I grew cold towards the LORD (1 John 1:8, Hebrews 3:13)

 

“I was buried beneath my shame

Who could carry that kind of weight

It was my tomb.”

 

From 18 to 29, I was a functional alcoholic. But at 30, my sin caught up with me, as it always does (Numbers 32:23), and in an instant I was suicidal, sleeping on a couch, manic, told by three doctors I was dying of alcoholism, depressed, filled with rage and unforgiveness and wanted to die. Physical death was now being made manifest along with my inner spiritual death. But God…

 

But God does not treat us as our sins deserve.

 

And so, He sought me (Luke 15) in my wandering and called me from my self-appointed tomb, wrapped in strangle-holds of addiction, sin and despair.

 

“You called my name

And I ran out of that grave

Out of the darkness

Into Your glorious day”

In an instant after surrendering my life to Jesus, as both Savior and Lord, it was like life snapped into 3D and technicolor. It all made sense all of a sudden. This life wasn’t about me. And God wasn’t about rules. He wanted a relationship with me. And He didn’t want to keep me from my desires; He wanted to keep me from harm (Romans 6:21-22).

 

Earlier in my life, “I never understood or wanted freedom in Christ because I never understood I was a slave to sin.” Now with my alcoholism, “I knew I was deeply enslaved and I was desperate for freedom in Christ.” I was powerless and unable; He was all-powerful and joyfully able! He didn’t make me a better person; He made me a new person! (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)

 

“Now Your mercy has saved my soul

Now Your freedom is all I know

The old made new

Jesus, when I met You

I needed rescue

My sin was heavy

But chains break at the weight of Your glory

I needed shelter

I was an orphan

But You call me a citizen of heaven

When I was broken

You were my healing

Your love is the air that I’m breathing

I have a future

My eyes are open

You called my name

I ran out of that grave

Out of the darkness

Into Your glorious day”

 

And, lest there’s any confusion, it’s not just what Jesus did for me. It’s what He lives to do for all (Hebrews 13:7-8)! So, this offer, His offer, for forgiveness and freedom is for you today – with whatever chain may be upon you. And may we never forget – that those we are leading and shepherding and calling to praise, are living and dying in secret tombs of their own. So call to them. Call them out of the darkness. Call them into Jesus’ glorious day.

 

“When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” (John 11:43-44)