Happy Easter friends! As far as holidays go, this is one of my favorites. Today we celebrate the risen Savior.
By far, my relationship with Christ is the single thing I treasure most in my life. Some days I do a poor job of demonstrating that, but in my heart, I know I am nothing without Him. He is my hope. My help. My redeemer.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
One of the greatest things I’ve gained in my relationship with Christ is freedom. There is so much freedom in Christ. As someone who has battled a mental illness, freedom is a big deal. As someone living in a world with pressing demands and expectations, freedom is life-giving. In Jesus I have found my freedom.
Jesus gives us freedom because when we live in Him, our worth does not come from what we can do or who we are. Our worth rest in nothing but our identity as children of God.
“For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” Galatians 3:26
Jesus wants us to be content with what we have. No, this isn’t an excuse to be lazy or to not work hard. However, when we find contentment in what we have, we no longer have to strive for more than what we need. The world tells us that we need more. It’s not normal to be content and happy with what we have. Yet, we when find our satisfaction in Christ, what the world has to offer just doesn’t seem all that significant. The less we invest in material things, the more we can invest in eternal things.
We are not tied to our past. When we confess our sins, asking God or those we did wrong to forgive us, we can lay those past mistakes down. We don’t have to live with shame or guilt, because God washes us anew. The amazing thing is we don’t have to come to God with a clean heart. God wants us to come as we are, however messed up we believe ourselves to be.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
We have the obligation to forgive. Maybe that doesn’t sound very freeing to you, especially since I used the word “obligation.” Well, I argue that God has done us a favor with this command. When we choose forgiveness, it truly set us free. Past experiences have helped me to learn that my anger at someone usually hurts me. I’ve spent months or years being upset with someone, while that someone probably doesn’t think twice about me. When I think about the sacrifice Jesus made for me- God in flesh dying on a wooden cross, I find it difficult to hold any grudge or judgement over someone else. Forgiveness allows us to let go of old feelings and move on, freeing our emotions for something better.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32
With Jesus, the pressure is off. We don’t have to be anything other than who we are. The disciples Jesus chose to help spread His message weren’t perfect people. God doesn’t measure man the way man does. God looks at our hearts and loves us anyways. That alone makes me love Him. The God who knows everything about me, still loves and care for me. He still wants me to be apart of His redemption. This is what it means to be “fully known and loved”.
“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.” Psalm 139:1
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36