As they were unpacking hearts, one of the guys got quiet and just stared pensively into space.
Noticing the distance and the deep sadness in his eyes, his buddy asked, “Man, where did you drift off to? You look so bummed. What did you start thinking about that got you down?”
Knowing his friend had a pretty good life, he couldn’t help but ask, “Your future? What in the world would make your future look so hopeless?”
The response was stunning.
We all have a “past”. It is that inescapable backstory of life as it has really been…good, bad and indifferent. Your past is the aggregate sum of everything you have been through, done and become.
There is nothing you can do about your past. The past just is.
The problem really isn’t our past, it is that we allow our futures to be held hostage to that past. When how we live today is determined and shaped by what we experienced yesterday, then tomorrow simply becomes more of the same.
Living in Jesus’ Kingdom, if it is about anything, is about the battle to wrest the future from the grip of the past. It is about a clear change of course where what we do is not bound by what we have done; where we go is not limited by where we’ve been; what impact we make today isn’t dictated by what has impacted us yesterday.
This is an epic battle for FREEDOM.
Freedom is a massive word in the Kingdom. It is the vision of life lived “toward” instead of “from”; the hope that nothing in my history has to determine my destiny. It is the experience of life no longer under the domination of what has happened to us, how we’ve failed or who brought us into this world. Freedom is about acceptance, hope, forgiveness and passion. And…
“It is for freedom that Christ has set you free” (Galatians 5:1).
Freedom was the great gift bought and paid for by Jesus in his life-death-resurrection connection with our real world. It is how He wants His people to be.
He has already done everything necessary to make it a reality. Not one more thing can or needs to occur for us to be fully and completely released into all that He had in mind when He made us.
The problem with much of the faith-talk in our world is that we see only the need to be “free from” and not the power of being “free to”. Jesus didn’t simply free us from being a mess-maker in our past, He paved the way to be a history-maker in our future. The todays of our life are intended to be spent freely giving because we have freely received.
So what is this “Freedom” that Jesus died to give us. What are we liberated to experience?
We are now–in this present reality–free to be:
- Shaped by God’s desires. It is amazing and exhilarating to discover that God wanted something special when He made each of us. None of us are accidents. We are not advanced pond scum. God had desires in His heart that he wanted to express and release in this world…and He gave them a name: Ours! Freedom allows us to be formed and informed by those desires. Our very “selves” are cast into the mold of God’s beautiful dream. That’s how He forges our Character.
- Defined by God’s delight. When we inhale the oxygen of freedom we smell the fragrance of joy. God didn’t create us to put up with us, but to delight in us. He made us to be His kids–the natural expression of His love and the full extension of His life. All that we are is wrapped up in our being “to the praise of His glory”. He is mad about us…not mad at us. That’s how He forms our Identity.
- Guided by God’s design. We are not left to find our way alone. God didn’t wind us up like clocks and then leave us to be ticking time bombs. He had a plan in His mind, a purpose in His sight and a partnership in His heart when He unleashed each of us on this planet. His design was not simply for us to take up space, but to make up history. He unfolds that blueprint by the experienced reality of our daily encounter with the world as it is. That’s how He focuses our Destiny.
Freedom is the safe and beautiful atmosphere where we can unpack His favor in the raw rub and reality of everyday life.
It is a healing space where we are released from past hurt, generational patterns and residual failure. Here we unlock the reflexive thought patterns that create the ruts of living and bind us to the routine of failure.
It is also the expansive place where we discover what He had in mind when He thrust us into the life-flow of this planet. Here is where we mine the depths of what He was longing for when he dreamed us up.
Living free is crucial to meaning in life and mattering in the world. It is critical that we discover, experience and express this kind of freedom in the reality of where we live each day!
Only when I embrace this freedom-work of Jesus can my history becomes His mystory.