What is freedom? That was the question asked by the associate pastor at my church yesterday in our 4th of July weekend sermon. I am truly thankful to live in a country that allows freedom. But, as the pastor pointed out, Christ offers even more freedom - not freedom to live anyway we want, but freedom to live as we ought to. And how we ought to live is for Christ.
I'm the kind of person who likes to observe people. I've spoken with many people about this in the past... but why is it the unfortunate circumstance that all too often the people who are most Christ-like are not Christians? The people that go out of their way for others, who are caring and giving, are not followers of Christ at all. All too often, we, as Christians, are just self-centered. We use are freedom in Christ not to bare one another's burdens but to indulge our own selfishness. How often would we, as Christians, miss a church service to help someone at work out? How often would we, as Christians, help out someone that we just do not particularly care for? Jesus taught that legalism is the opposite of true freedom. When our Savior was accused of working on the Sabbath because He healed on this Holy Day, He recognized His accusers as what they were - hypocrites. Are we hypocrites as well? If we lived at the time of Jesus' life on Earth, would we be with His accusers? If we saw a man beaten and robbed, lying on the side of the road on our way to church, would we stop to help or simply wish him well? Freedom is offered in and through Christ, not in our legalism.
Just last night, Taliesin's caterpillar we found a few weeks ago emerged a beautiful hummingbird moth. He is black with brown stripes. I tried to take some pictures, but the lights or flash on camera did not allow the pictures to turn out correctly. When Taliesin saw him, he was, of course, excited. That excitement dissipated into sadness when we talked about how it was time to set his moth free. I felt so sad for my five-year old as he sobbed, "But he's mine. I want to keep him." Then we talked about how his moth - whom he named Arthur - neeeds his freedom in order to live out is life. He needs to fly. He cannot fly in an aquarium. He needs room. So we all went outside together. Kelsey gently lifted the screen lid and allowed the moth to crawl onto his hand. Arthur immediately began beating his wings, testing to see how they worked. Nathanael gave him a quick touch, and Taliesin smiled as we watched him soar into the sky. We talked about how soon there will probably be baby Arthurs. This morning, we talked about how Arthur is much happier flying in the sky than he would have been stuck in the aquarium. Taliesin agreed and is looking forward to finding some baby Arthur caterpillars next spring and summer.
How often do we, as Christians, allow our own desires to keep us bound in a glass casing when we would be much happier soaring the skies of true freedom in Christ - the freedom to allow Jesus to truly influence our lives for the better.
Trying for Cheerful
3 days ago