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Needing a Breakthrough? Thoughts on Freedom and Isaiah 58
created on Mon, 06/01/2009 - 17:31

Last night at church I was singing the song that goes “Fall on me ever so gently, and break these chains…set me free, set me free, set me free, set me free…” During the song, I felt impelled to
change the words slightly and instead sang, “We are free, we are free, we are free, we are free…” It hit me hard that yes, there may be some addictions,
burdens, lack of peace, or fears clinging to us, but in reality, we are already
free of these things in Christ because of what He has accomplished for us. It
made me think that actively embracing and walking in the freedom He has already
given to us might make more sense than asking Him to free us. He already has freed
us. What would happen if this paradigm shifted inside of us where we realized
this truth? What if we realized that the door to the cage we feel trapped
inside of is wide open and we just have to venture out to the edge and enjoy our
freedom? What if instead of asking for freedom, we began to walk in the freedom
He has already given us?

 


Putting our faith, not necessarily in God’s promises as they are mere words and
covenants, but in the One who made those promises is important. When we do that
and really believe that He is good and He is telling the truth, these promises become
a known reality and bring transformation. The reason I say known reality is
because many times they are unknown or not realized by us.


Notice the following cluster of promises:
-“He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing, predestined us to adoption as sons, made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins; in Him we have also obtained an inheritance, been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.”-Paul (Ephesians 1)
-“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”-Jesus (John 8:36)
-“And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”-Paul (Romans 6:18)
-“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”-Paul (Galatians 5:1)
-“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”-Jesus (Matthew 10:8)


What difference would it make in our lives today if we truly believed the truth
that we are free in Christ? What would change if we recognized that Christ has
already given us many of the things we ask for? Yet so many times we don’t
believe they are true so we keep on asking. What if we realized that there are
many times when we don’t even need to call out to God for something because He
has already given it to us and is waiting for us to take hold of it? What if we
began to walk in the reality of our inheritance in Him rather than in the
limited scope of what the world gives us and how it makes us feel?


So what are we freed from when we come to Christ? We are free from sin,
addiction, anxiety, confusion, hopelessness, fear, and the list goes on. These
things no longer have any power over us. Let me repeat myself, none of these things
need have any power or control over our lives any more. We need to be sure to
search our hearts to make sure that we have not given them any place in our lives.
We can be completely freed from them the moment we chose to let them go and
walk in our true identity that is already ours in Christ. Yes, sometimes to get
to that place it will be necessary to pray, often it will be necessary to have
others pray with us, but ultimately a perspective shift to actually believing
what’s already true can also have profound effects. While sometimes heavy burdens
completely crush us, temptations overtake us, addictions control us, depression
consumes us, there is still hope.


Understanding the amazing freedom we already have in Christ and choosing to
follow Him despite our weighing circumstances is sometimes a key that can also
bring deeper healing as shown in Isaiah 58. Here’s my loose interpretation of
the passage with some added commentary … When we loose the bonds of wickedness that
destructively hook onto other’s lives by praying on their behalf; when we undo
heavy burdens even though we feel weighed down by our own consuming burdens;
when we let the oppressed go free by offering grace and mercy freely; when we
share our bread with the hungry, whether that be emotionally, spiritually, or
physically in spite of our own starved appetites for love; when we invite the
poor and outcasts into our homes, our lives, our church families when sometimes
we don’t feel like we even belong; when we choose to cover the naked in the
midst of feeling so vulnerable ourselves; when we choose to speak words of
affirmation when we could easily speak words that are deserved; when we satisfy
the afflicted soul even when our own soul is tormented with doubts…


When we reach out to help others in spite of our own circumstances, then miracles and
breakthroughs occur inside of us. It is only when we tear off a piece of the
small loaf of bread in our hands and begin to give it away that we see it
multiply before our eyes. When we follow God’s heart despite our lack, despite
our feelings and situations, our hurt, our pain, misunderstandings, our fear,
our insecurities, that’s precisely a moment when beautiful things occur deep
inside of us.

Continuing with Isaiah 58, when we actively help people in need,
then our light will break forth, then our healing shall spring forth speedily,
then our righteousness shall go before us, then our light will arise in the
midst of the darkness and our deepest depression will be like the sun’s light
at midday shining high and bright. The Lord will continually guide and direct
us. In the midst of our own droughts, as we water other people’s souls with His
love, He will satisfy our souls. He will even make us like springs in which our
waters will never fail to bubble up. In the process of us actively strengthening others, He promises to strengthen us.


I admit that none of this really makes sense. For example one may ask, if I am not
filled up first and if I don’t have my needs met before hand, how in the world
am I going to be able to help someone else? I must first get my life in order
before I can help someone else get theirs right.  To be filled up first
before one can pour out onto others makes perfect sense rationally. This is not
necessarily how the kingdom of God operates all of the time though. The widow
gave the little bread she had to Elijah and then noticed that it multiplied,
the disciples with so few loaves of bread saw them multiplied as they shared
them with the thousands, and the water only turned to wine in the act of pouring
it out. These are all risky and make no sense whatsoever. That’s the beauty of
being a follower of Christ, life is an unpredictable adventure most of the
time. He makes the rules. One small act of kindness can multiply to touch
thousands.


It’s usually in our weakness that He shows up most. I remember one time many
years ago when I was at church and feeling horrible because of some weighing circumstance
at the time. I felt so starved for love and felt I had absolutely nothing to
give to anyone; I felt so needy. At the end of the service there was
ministry time, and that particular day I felt I was supposed to pray for someone
rather than go to receive prayer, which I had done countless times before. I
fought with God for awhile because didn’t have any strength or energy or even
desire to do this. Finally, I went up to the person and prayed for her. For the
first time in awhile, God gave me specific words and pictures for her and
really led me in a time of significant prayer that impacted her. I was also impacted
that day. In the process of me reaching out and laying my hands in prayer on
one weighed down with their own burdens, my burden began to lift. As I
continued to pray, energy and strength was restored to me, passion, hope, confidence.
While I think that this person may have been blessed through my prayers, more
so, in the process of me acting in faith despite my depressing state, God
lifted my heavy burden at the time. Joy was restored. Those situations where through God's strength alone, I have chosen to act in faith regardless of my emotional state or the circumstances weighing me down, have been some of the biggest victories for me and have brought me to deeper levels of healing and wholeness in Christ.


I highly suggest and encourage that if you are or if you are ever feeling down,
depressed, burdened, worried, filled with fear, confused, uncertain, or off in any
way, to go out and find someone who might be in a similar situation, to go out
to the poor, the outcast, the lonely, the unloved, and offer them a small piece
of the love that you have already received from Jesus. Obviously run to Jesus first
with your trouble, but don’t stop there, run all the way through His heart so
that it moves your own to action. And if you don’t feel His heart, you know it
nonetheless and sometimes taking action is a key in restoring it.


I totally believe that there is a place for prayer in the Christian community
and I feel that it is very necessary. At the same time though, I also believe that
there are times when prayer needs to come to an end, where it needs to pass the
baton to action to see the full breakthrough. That’s fine and all if we pass a
hungry person on the streets and pray for them under our breath as we walk by.
But even better, what if we offered them some food?! One time God told Moses to
get up off of his knees and stop praying so that he could take action instead.
In Exodus 14:14, God asked him, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of
Israel to go forward.” This conversation took place in one of Israel’s
potentially darkest hours and just before one of their biggest victories. The
Egyptians were closing in on them. Who knows, if Moses would have continued to
sit around and pray for deliverance, maybe he would have died soon after. When
he got up off of his knees though, and took a stand, stretched out his hand
over the Red Sea, he saw a path appear between two stationary tidal waves so he
could lead the Israelites to safety.


So yes, prayer is good, but sometimes a way beyond prayer that will bring breakthrough
in a certain area is action. Sometimes it is in realizing that God's promises
for us are really true and in acting according to that truth. Other times, it
is in reaching out a helping hand when we might be in more need of help
ourselves.


May our hearts burn with the love of Jesus so much that we are compelled to demonstrate
His compassion despite our own felt deficits. And in those moments of reaching
out in the midst of our own weaknesses, may His healing occur deeply in the
core of our hearts. As we step out, may we be restored, healed, and satisfied with even more of His immense love.

 

PS. This article goes very nicely with the song  and video "Finally Free" by Nichole Nordeman @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zf9WTToa-Us

Comments

Hey Jen,
I loved what you had to say. I have a book that I put quotes, words - things I really like to think about and remember for along time, there were three quotes I took out of your entry and well, it hit home.
They were:

"When we reach out to help others in spite of our circumstances, then miracles and breakthroughs occur inside us."

- That is so true. This to me was a freedom to know that even when I'm at my lowest and don't know where to turn or what to say, that if I step out and help others, God will do so much in my life and a change WILL occur. That's cool!

"When we water other people's souls with His love, He will satisfy our souls."

- When I read this it was refreshing, I could picture me with a water jug pouring it over someone else and in turn Jesus doing that to me. I know these words don't explain exactly what I sensed or felt in that sentence, but I do know I feel refreshed now.

"That's the beauty of being a follower of Christ, life is unpredictable adventure most of the time. He makes the rules."

- This one actually spoke/reminded me about Henry and what he is going through right now... feeling his life is uncertain as he is currently laid off and doesn't know which direction God wants him to go. I really like how you used the word adventure. Because that is how I refer to Henry's new stage in his life - it is an adventure and I can't wait to see where God is going to take him and us. God does make the rules and he makes them for us and with us in mind. To trust that he knows what he is doing and truly believe that is in itself reassuring.

Thanks so much for speaking what God was telling you to write and share. Keep listening to God and keep sharing it to others! You ARE a blessing.

Thanks for your kind words and encouragement Beth. All this has been on my mind for a little while now and yesterday I felt like I couldn't do anything other than write it all out. Glad i made your quote book ;)!

..."the water only tuned to wine in the act of pouring it out." Very nice, Jen. This is a lovely piece and shows your soul. What a lovely ministry you are building.

Sorry not to see any word of connecting with the Carrie Judd Montgomery research. I had only her address, no phone, so don't know where to send you next.

Judy Vaughn

Thanks for writing this up. It has been biting at me for a while. It has been truly encouraging to read you article. Stubborn children like us seem to co-operate with the devil more than co-operating with our Lord. Jesus heals the blind and for our sakes, all we really need to do is open our eyes and give thanks. Thank you for sharing this.

Thanks PYari77, I appreciate the comments.
I like how you put it, "all we need to do sometimes is open our eyes" and see and give thanks. So true. Thanks for sharing your insights!

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