What would you do with all your freedom?
What's the greatest kind of freedom you can experience? Political freedom? Economic freedom?
This Lent we're walking through the Exodus story, the one about where God insists that Pharaoh let the Israelites go so that they may worship the LORD in the wilderness. God demanded freedom to worship. This involvement by God to free his people was in response to the cry of the Israelites. They cried out for deliverance, and so God sent them Moses. The story doesn't quite go like you would assume; here's a shortened version of how it starts:
Moses to Pharaoh: Let my people go…
Pharaoh to Moses: No way!
Pharaoh to Slavedrivers: Work ‘em harder!
Israelites to Pharaoh: Why?
Pharaoh to Israelites: You’re lazy! Get to work!
Israelites to Moses: Thanks a lot!
Moses to God: Do you even know what you are doing?
God to Moses: You gotta trust me.
Moses to Israelites: You gotta trust God on this one…
Israelites to Moses: Thanks but not thanks.
God to Moses: Ready to try this again?
Moses to God: Umm… I don’t think I want to do it
This is a great line from Moses towards God - note the raw honesty and skewed perspective on reality: Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”
God was rescuing Israel that they may be free to worship Him. God is rescuing the world he loves that we might be free to love him in return. God gives us freedom that we would use it to love. This is what Paul is getting at in his letters to the Galatians: "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. You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself”
It Get’s Harder Before It Becomes Reality.
We want to be more free, and we want to give and receive more love; but as we move in that direction we get easily discouraged when it gets more harder. If you want to be more free, you'll have to work harder than you are right now. If you want to give and receive more love, you'll have to work harder than you are right now.
Somewhere we start thinking that once we start to do the next right thing, life will start to get easier. But the story of the Exodus reveals to us that it is only with great difficulty that one begins and endures the journey of freedom.
There’s the Endless Work of You Becoming More Free, More Loving…
There’s the Endless Work of You Helping Others Become More Free, More Loving…
This Lent, as you feel the Spirit's conviction to focus on being free to love more, be prepared to work more, to sacrifice more, to surrender more. This Lent, as you feel the conviction to help others be more free to love, be prepared for reality to become more difficult. But also be prepared for reality to become more good.