In the spiritual life we can do nothing worthy without repentance, but the Lord has much mercy on us because of our intentions. He who compels himself and holds on to repentance until the end, even if he sins is saved because he compelled himself, for the Lord promised this in the Gospel.
~St. Mark The Ascetic
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. … For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires… If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
~ paul, The Least of The Apostles, in Galatians 5
Oh beloved, it is true.
Believers, there is before us, an astounding destiny. It calls out against our time-worn lives. We, each of us, beat against the edge of our souls like boats against a dock. We scratch and screak against the side and wear ourselves down, with our worry, and doubt, and fear. When, in truth, we are eternal beings. We are free from the edge – because it does not exist.
And, while it is so hard for us to believe, we are the freest of people who have ever existed. Everything around us, wants to pull us back away from this reality. Even the ‘we’ we used to be still makes a play for our attention. It screams that if we just stay a little closer to it, everything will be ok and it will stay quiet.
Then, in our midst, are those who are screaming at us in their own pain. They pour it out on us, and treat us with the greatest of disdain. But, really they are just trying to wrap themselves in some sort of warm blanket. For them, if they can somehow show how wrong others are, they will feel comfortable – and even emboldened in their anger.
Others will judge our freedom. They will look at our willingness to dance in the aisles of truth; to live towards justice and mercy, and they will unleash their self-righteous venom. It is, as if, they gain some sort of foothold to maintain their own equilibrium on their own little territory of self-regulated and self-decided truth.
Can we see it?
We do not have to be trapped by any of the above. We can walk in the space that we already inhabit. There really are no boundaries. So…
If someone decides to lash out in anger, we have no need to do the same in return.
If a group comes against us, to tear down the right in which we live, we don’t have any desire to tear down in return.
When our flesh lusts after pleasure, we don’t have to feed it. We can experience an infinity deeper filling and feeling of wholeness.
We are no longer driven by the reactions of our tiny little bouncings of our boat against the walls of life. There are no walls. We are free. We are free from sin. We are free from death. We are free to hope. We are finally – and totally – real.
So, are you feeling trapped by your life? If you are trusting Jesus, there is no need for this. The traps have been removed. You are free (and so is this fool of a writer). Don’t go back.
Tonight is your night. Walk like the limits have been removed. It is a daring escape!
One day, in the city of New York — oh, what a day! — I cannot describe it, I seldom refer to it; it is almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for 14 years. I can only say that God revealed himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him to stay His hand.” Moody was sure that if God did not lift His hand, he would die.
~ The Filling of Dwight Lyman Moody