Thursday, February 5, 2009

Freedom from my chains

Psalm 116:16
O Lord, truly I am your servant. I am your servant, the son of your maidservant, you have freed me from my chains.

What exactly does freedom mean? According to Webster:
1: the quality or state of being free: as a: the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action b: liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another : independence c: the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous (troublesome)

We often hear in the church that we have been "set free", and that Jesus "broke the chains" that bind us to sin.

And it all sounds cliche.

I look around the church in America and I see people who don't look free. I see people who are constantly held in "coercion and constraint in choice or action". I see people who are slaves to the power of "what the person next to them thinks". I don't see anyone exempt or released from something troublesome.

But, I also see the truth that Jesus DID break the chains that keep us prisoner in this world. I believe in His Word, and wonder why so many of us are still struggling with impressing others with our appearance, or impressing others with our religious rules and ability to be perfect in front of everyone else.

Acts 16:26
...At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose.
hmmm.... the chains are loose... but not gone.

Recently I had the opportunity to go and worship at the Orlando House of Prayer with Kim Walker. She leads worship in a way that begs us to walk in freedom.. the freedom of worship. The freedom I felt while singing MY HEART instead of just my words to my Father in Heaven was a very powerful, moving, and joyful experience.

The key word here isn't freedom.. it's experience.

Did you know that God created our brains to learn in 2 ways? Our brain is divided into 2 hemispheres... the left handles words and knowledge.... and the right handles experience. (learn more here) How many times do you approach "being a christian" with only left brained knowledge? I believe God created us with 2 hemispheres for a reason... so I embraced what was happening in my right hemisphere!

When I was able to experience the presence of God during that time of worship... it enabled my entire brain to finally "get it". One of the lines in one of the songs Kim leads is:
I asked you for freedom, you broke every chain and gave me the keys

In my time of worship I was able to finally see that God did give me freedom... he did break the chains just like it's promised in His Word... and he then handed me the keys to those chains. I, like many other Christians, have been holding onto my chains instead of letting them fall.
Isaiah 52:2
Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.

I challenge each of my readers to consider letting go of the broken chains that bind you. Find freedom in Christ by opening up the right hemisphere of your brain and allowing yourself to experience Him instead of locking yourself up into religion and rules.

I can stand freely without my chains today because I KNOW beyond the shadow of a doubt that God is by my side. I didn't have to memorize it or force myself to read about him everyday. I KNOW it because I've experienced Him in my life.
That... is freedom.

I don't have to be coerced into following Him. I want to.
I don't have to be a slave to singing only what the person next to me sings on Sunday morning, or spouting off verses that have no meaning to me. I am free to sing as loud or as quiet as I want to, even if there's a break in the chorus! I am free to let the verses that I've experienced as alive flow out of me naturally. God likes it when I'm different from the crowd!
I don't have to fall into despair and frustration when trouble knocks on my door.. I can praise my God because I know he will either deliver me from it or teach me something from it.

I believe that worship is the key to discovering this freedom... so why not take the time to go after it for yourself. There's a playlist of Kim Walker's music in my side panel that might help. :)