Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Celebrating freedom {in Christ}

I trust you had a wonderful 4th of July with friends and family!  We were able to relax briefly today; we also had front-row seats to a great fireworks show!  A large part of our day was spent packing up for our move, as well....but in between all this...

A topic started rolling around in my head last night {spiritual freedom}  as hubby and I did our evening reading.  J.R.R. Tolkien's, The Hobbit was the impetus.  But first, some back story....Bilbo Baggins is the main character in this delightful story, and at the start of the book, he reluctantly agrees to embark on a treacherous journey with some new acquaintances, 13 dwarves, and a wizard, Gandalf.  The goal?  To claim the treasure that has been passed on to the dwarves--if they can make it through Mirkwood forest and past the dragon.  At many points along the journey, Bilbo wishes that he never agreed to this.  But {spoiler alert!}once he acquires the ring, and learns that it will provide invisibility, he becomes quite a leader among his fellow travelers.  He is able to help them through many a pinch, and the incident we'll discuss is no different.  The problem is that the dwarves are not that excited about his method of escape from their current dilemma:  capture by the Elvish King.

"Bilbo saw that the time had come to explain his idea, as far as he could; but he did not feel at all sure how the dwarves would take it.  His fears were quite justified, for they did not like it a bit, and started grumbling loudly in spite of their danger.  'We shall be bruised and battered to pieces, and drowned too, for certain"' they muttered.  'We thought you had got some sensible notion, when you managed to get hold of the keys.  This is a mad idea!' 'Very well'! said Bilbo very downcast, and also rather annoyed.  'Come along back to your nice cells, and I will lock you all in again, and you can sit there comfortably and think of a better plan--but don't suppose I shall ever get hold of the keys again, even if I feel inclined to try."

Perhaps you see the corollary?  At times, I see myself in the same situation as the dwarves....hearing the Lord's voice leading me out of a current entrapment with sin...{whatever that may be for you, put yourself in their place too}.  Isn't it easier to remain trapped, than it is to risk freedom, and the treacherous path to get there?  We choose the comfortable, but deadly route, when freedom is right around the corner, beckoning us to come near.  I have chosen my imprisonment far too many times.  

As Christians, we are all moving from death to life, through the process of sanctification; here in our home, a new season of growth is on the horizon.  Though it is not what we had in mind for ourselves, it is going to bring challenge and blessing in ways we have not expected.  There will be hardships, for sure.  But these very trials and joys will be a part of the training ground our Father has planned for us.  What about you?  What lays ahead for you?  On this day, in which we celebrate the freedoms that have been granted through the courage of our forefathers, may I challenge you to turn your mind to the battle that Christ won on the cross?

Galatians 5:1:  "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."

Freedom is yours, if you will accept the journey....even if reluctantly, like Bilbo :) 

A blessed 4th to you!

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