So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:31-32 ESV
The latter part of this verse gets quoted in Christian circles quite a bit. “The truth will set you free.” And I do believe it to be so. However, to really know the freedom that the truth brings you have to look at the whole statement of these verses. There was a bit of a process here that Jesus was pointing out. First Jesus said this to the Jews who had believed Him. The truth will not set free a non-believer. In fact it can be quite the contrary I would think. I believe the Holy Spirit can be at work in a non-believers life pursuing him or her to come to Christ. I look back at my own salvation experience and can see God’s hand on my life before I became a believer. I can see the people and circumstances that were in my life that were drawing me to Him. I was not a believer yet and a lot of the things I can see and I experience were in my childhood but with my hindsight I can surely see God’s hand all over my life. But I can also see the ways I was in bondage to my own thoughts, yes even as a child and to my sinful nature. And yes I do believe that to gain salvation I simply had to trust in Him and believe in Him.
However, freedom in Christ only comes to me when I am abiding in His word. When I am reading and studying His word. And it’s a daily practice, it is not a one time thing. If I miss a day in His word, whether I really do not pick up my Bible and read or let’s say I read it but I am distracted by thoughts, worry, my to do list, I can feel the old habits of anxiety and the bondages begin to get a grip on my heart and next thing you know I am not walking in the Freedom Christ brings but I am a slave again to circumstances or my own thought life.
It is only in abiding that I can gain the true Freedom that Christ brings. Every day when I have my quiet time I picture myself laying down at the cross all of the things that are concerning me. I pray for my family, I pray for friends, I pray for things of the world. And every day or at least some days I know that a phone call that comes or a thought I have I tend to pick up some of those worries and carry them around with me. It’s like I have this pack that I pick the worries back up and put them into it. Some days I pick more of them up than others. Or at night sometime, anxiety runs deep for me in the middle of the night, so if I wake up in the middle of the night I have a pack as big as Santa Claus that I am filling up with worry and thoughts. But in the morning, I picture myself dragging that pack, no matter how big it is from the worry that I took on the day and night before, and I start laying it back at the foot of the cross. Oh I had laid it down before and shouldn’t have picked it up again but I am human and I do this. But when I practice this, when I take the time to abide in His word and spend time laying it all down, I find that I can walk in the Freedom He gives me. I also see that I don’t seem to pick up as much when I make this my daily practice.
Please pray for the educators and students today. I know school years are in the process of being completed but there are still big decisions to be made about how we will open back up next year.