Liberty……freedom…. What comes to mind when you hear these words? Is it that you’re free to do as you please?
Jesus tells us that…
‘the truth will make you free’
and Paul exhorts us to….
‘Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.’
We are freed from the bondage of sin and the law but what are we freed to? The glorious liberty of following Christ, to the freedom found in surrender and the joy found in obedience.
We are free from striving to be better in own strength, instead we have the wonderful liberty of leaning on Christ and doing everything in His strength, if we’ll only give up trying and start relying.
There are just two places in the Bible where the word strive is used in a spiritual sense and they are both from the same Hebrew word. The first tells us that we are to…
‘Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.’
And the second is when Paul in his letter to the Romans, says…
‘Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;
Friends, we don’t enter in at the strait gate, or remain in the narrow way by striving in our own strength, we don’t enter in by living a good life, we enter in by and through Christ,the one who says….
‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’
It’s so easy to think that this word strive means we have to work for things in our own strength and wisdom but the only striving should be done through Christ and His Spirit working in us.
When you look up the meaning of this Hebrew word translated as strive, you see that it also means to contend with an adversary, to fight.
We are to wrestle in prayer, and strive to first enter that narrow way and then fight to remain there BUT only through God’s strength and wisdom and power and not our own or we will fail.
It’s a battle friends, a spiritual battle, an unseen battle, often fought in our minds and it’s a battle that we never need to fight in our own strength…….
‘For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh. (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty THROUGH God to the pulling down of strong holds.)’
We’re set free from the bondage of sin and the law, set free to fight with the sword of the Spirit and in prayer against the enemy and all in the power and strength of Christ IN us.
‘Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;’
And friends, this life really is but for a moment and for each of God’s children the battle has already been won…
‘But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’
We are free to strive and fight, free to serve and do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us and all for the glory of God!
Free to live a life of joy in the Lord if only we’ll stop trying and start relying!
John 8:32, Gal 5:1, Luke 13:24, Rom 15:30, John 14:6, 2 Cor 10:3-4, 1 Cor 15:57.
In love, Sharon x