Spiritual Freedom

Spiritual Freedom

Spiritual Freedom | One Verse: A Journey through the Bible.

From the time we toddle around as two year olds, we enter a world of rules. Regulations that are meant to steer us away from perceived danger. But if we’re not careful we can grow up living bound by regulations with freedom nowhere to be found. Before Jesus descended to earth, the way people connected with god was through laws and regulations. People were on a journey to make atonement for every sin they committed in an attempt to sanctify their lives and be right with God.

Despite striving towards righteousness in the law, the regulations weren’t providing a meaningful relationship with God. In Romans 7:10 Paul writes that the law that was supposed to bring life actually brought spiritual death. There was no spiritual freedom in the bounds of the law, just exhaustive rules and regulations.

Romans 10:4 “For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.”

Today we no longer have to be bound by the law. We don’t have to earn a rightful status or check off a list of sacrifices to find righteousness. At the point of surrender in salvation we are made right with God.

Following laws doesn’t lead to a relationship full of joy with the Lord, but rather makes way for legalism much like we see in the faith of the Pharisees. When we chase rules, we lose sight of God’s grace and mercy provided to us on the cross.

As you review the laws binding you, consider these questions:

1.  What regulations am I putting on my faith?
2. What does it look like to live in spiritual freedom?
3. What is something I can change this week to walk away from rules and towards spiritual freedom?

As Paul writes “the message is very close at hand it is on your lips and in your heart”. Encourage someone today in the grace that God has extended. Share the spiritual freedom that we find in Jesus.

A New Heart

A New Heart

A New Heart | One Verse

“6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives.” Romans 6:6

What happens to us when we receive salvation? What happens when I pray “The Prayer?” In Romans 6, Paul explains what transpires in the heart of a new believer. Simply put, our old heart dies and we’re given a new one.

So there is simply no way we as Christians can continue in our old ways of life. We don’t have the same operating system anymore. The redemptive work of Christ has literally unlocked our rebellious heart from the chains of sin. We are saved people!

So since we’re given a new heart by God through salvation, can we continue in our old ways?

Consider this:
1. When you see a person in need what do you do?
2. What do you say / do when do nobody is around?
3. How do you handle your money? Do you give generously?

All of our decisions in these moments are a manifestation of the transformative work of Christ. If salvation means we’re set free from the bondage of sin, how then can we continue to sin without remorse?

“Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” Romans 6:1

Please understand that this passage doesn’t say you will never sin again! Because sin is present at this very moment in all of our hearts, but my question: what does your response to sin look like? Does it break your heart?

Chains of Debt

Chains of Debt

Chains of Debt | One Verse: A journey through the Bible

Romans 8:12-14 MSG “So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!”

Imagine the joy of having your home paid off, or maybe a school loan, or even a car loan. Now imagine going to the bank after it’s paid off and continuing to try to pay the debt even though it doesn’t exist.

Our debt was paid in full through the blood of Christ. Yet many of us still try to continue to pay on this debt even though it does not exist! The enemy of our lives wants us to feel unworthy and indebted.

God sent his Son as a final payment for all sin, for all time. Christ reconciled us to God in spite of who we are. We are worthy because of the the blood of Christ, not because of what we do, are doing, or will do.

As the Romans 8:12-14 notes “God’s Spirit beckons”. If we are living in the Spirit, we understand that God wants us to extend grace to others as grace has been extended to us. That is to say we should not believe the lie that we must work to earn grace.

The enemy wants us paralyzed with fear, holding on to our inequities, believing that we are not good enough or are not doing enough. But as we follow Christ we are to lay down the burden of that debt and accept His grace. The debt is paid. We have new life.

As you assess your debt, consider these questions:

What do you need to lay down at the cross and give to God, so that you can accept His grace and acknowledge that you don’t have to earn my way into his favor?

Why do you hold onto the idea that you must earn grace?

What Scriptural truth can you speak when the enemy casts doubt on my worth and insists that you are not good enough for God?

Break away from the burden of your debt, Christ has paid to free you forevermore. Find new life in Him today. May God bless you and may his face shine upon you.


Efforts Multiplied

Efforts Multiplied

Efforts Multiplied | One Verse: A journey through the Bible

Romans 7:4

4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.

As Christians, we belong to a family that is unified by Christ’s sacrifice. Through Jesus’ death on the cross our transgressions were covered and the law that previously bound people fell to a new grace filled life. As we accept the gift of salvation and repent for our sins, God grants us forgiveness covering all of our past. His grace bridges the gaps that our inequities carved and lends us to a life of freedom.

Living in light of the grace extended to us, means extending that same grace to others. A life marked by His grace stands out from the average and looks different than most. When we operate differently from the world we are able to work across cultural boundaries, find friends in unlikely places and minister in every moment.

Belonging to the body of Christ brings unity that threads all of our broken pieces together. Where one might be weak, another can encourage. Where one lacks, another can complement. Together, unified, we bear fruit that works beyond what each of us could do individually.

As you evaluate the impact of unification, consider these questions:

1. What divisions do you feel between you and others? How can you work to remove these?
2. Have you been the recipient of someone else’s generosity or grace? How did that impact you?
3. Is there an area in which you could lend your strength to help someone else?

By ourselves our efforts are minimal, but together we can bear fruit that changes the world. May you be impassioned by the grace God has extended you and empowered by His body broken for you.

The Middle

The Middle

The Middle | One Verse

New beginnings are celebrated and endings are expectantly awaited, but what do we do with the middle? In restlessness we try to hurry up time and skip through the moments in between; we overlook the purpose in of the middle.

When the newness of a beginning wears off and the excitement of the end feels distant, we feel stuck. Trials come and distress sinks in. Unforeseen obstacles, mountains to climb and rivers to cross loom and we doubt if an end will come. When the middle seems rough, we can find hope in God’s promises.

Romans 5:3-5 says, “3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”

The middle is not void of purpose. It is the time where God develops us. When all we can do is just put one foot in front of the other, he’s building endurance. With God, the middle is more than just the space that strings the beginning to the end. The middle becomes an essential time of purposeful preparation.

To experience the fullness that God intends for it, we can’t treat it like a sprint. When we relinquish control of the pace and embrace the full length of the marathon, God can fully developed our character and strengthening the hope of our salvation.

Driven by the Word and the sheer love of Jesus, we can step on the other side of the finish line. In the hidden moments, in the forgotten spaces, God develops within us what it takes to complete our race. In His hands no hour goes to waste.

As you endure the middle, consider these questions:

1. Are you rushing through your middle or are you pursuing its purpose?
2. How are you handling the length of your middle? Joy? Anger?
3. As you wade through the middle, in what way is your character being developed?

With God’s leading, we all have the ability to walk through the middle. Today, may you house the perseverance to keep walking and discover the purpose of the moments in the middle.