It has been said the Kingdom of God is an upside/down kingdom. In this kingdom:
The first will be last
We become rich by giving our money away
We lose our life to gain it
God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise and the weak things of the world to shame the strong
Another apparent contradiction concerning this kingdom is the one Pastor Doug spoke about this past Sunday:
true freedom comes when we surrender our lives to God.
The desire to be free is common to all of us. We push against anything that tries to limit or restrain us, but it is those very things we see as freeing that can eventually enslave us.
God has given us a free will. We get to choose what we will do with our lives. The danger comes when those choices, often made in the name of freedom, end up ruining our lives.
The story of the prodigal son illustrates just how devastating our choices can be. This young man thought freedom lay in “doing his own thing.” Instead, he found himself enslaved by the very things he thought would bring him happiness. It wasn’t until he made the choice to return home and submit to his father that he found true freedom.
Our Heavenly Father, like the father in the story of the prodigal son, loves us unconditionally and knows what’s best for us. He withholds only those things that will bring us sorrow and pain and eventually hold us captive.
Jesus came to set the captive free:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free.” Luke 4:18
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” John 8:34-36
As we celebrate freedom this week may we be mindful of the source of our true freedom. It came, just as our nation’s freedom, at great cost.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16