The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19
It was Dark Saturday, a perfectly fitting description for the status of my soul as I headed out on my mountain bike that lovely spring morning. As the COVID-19 pandemic continued past its first month in the U.S., my new role at work, finishing the book, and now rapid changes to our lifestyle, like my surprise homeschooling job, continued to be harder without a glimmer of hope in sight. I was deeper in the pit of despair, rimmed with hopelessness than I had ever experienced before.
How did I get here was the question that had been roaming through my mind the past few weeks. I was supposed to be better. Healed. But the reality was I was deeper in the struggle that had plagued me for all of my life—the struggle to prove myself through accomplishments and gain the approval of others to bolster my low self-worth.
But I had just completed a book about finding our true identity in Christ as beloved children of God, freed to be all He created us to be.
Did I no longer believe in the truth, that I was a beloved child of God, freed to be all He called me to be that I had written an entire book about?
With fear and shame that I had backslidden, or worse, that I had never been healed at all, I pedaled up to the tree where I had entombed the lies on Good Friday the year before.
When I got there, I sat for a moment frozen in trepidation. Did I really want to know if all I had been healed from, the whole book I had written, was not true? The prodding in my spirit out won my trepidation, so I rolled back the stone I had placed over the paper, seeking to unbury it from its hiding place.
At first, I could not find the paper. Heart rate increasing in desperation, I dug faster, creating a wider circle. It could not be gone. I desperately needed it to be there. I needed to see the words I had written on it a year ago because I needed to know it was still true.
Just as I was about to give up, resigning to the unanswered questions constricting my chest, I saw the corner of white poking out from the dirt. I pulled out the folded note, damp from living in the earth through the Southwest Colorado winter. The paper was covered in mud on the upward-facing side, the folds sticking together.
I tore from the exposed corner carefully, but it ripped anyway. "Beautiful", and "Seeking approval" were the only words left legible from the torn incomplete sentences near the note's bottom. I knew God was giving me answers to the questions that had been turning in the depths of my soul.
Turning to sit cross-legged in the dirt, my hand still clutching the note, I asked God what these still legible words meant and listened intently.
First, He revealed the beauty He sees in me, and the season I had stepped into with abandon. Despite my current doubt-filled state, He reminded me the past year had been one of beautiful redemption and surrender, and He was so pleased with me. I had obeyed in faith through many hard things that I had not seen coming that Good Friday a year ago.
This beautiful surrender had caused a rebirth in me, akin to being born again, but I needed to learn to live in this new Kingdom and give up my worldly ways.
Seeking approval, the other words left legible, were the invitation to the next steps God had in His restorative plan for me. I had been attempting to live out my new calling with half of my heart still in the world. There is no way to live halfway in both worlds. As Jesus said, you cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). Yet, my heart knew that is what I had been trying to do. And my life these past several months had proved His statement true.
I was still serving the world in many ways that were enslaving me.
But God opened the door for me with the words left legible on the note. It was an invitation to break up with the world to truly, truly follow Him. But I had to accept the invitation to walk out of captivity.
Are you ready to walk out of captivity too?
Great news! Your savior is here ready to break your chains and set you free!
Father, you have paid the highest ransom to set us free. Help us to dig into this new study and see your truth so we can break free from the world's enslaving ways and walk in your freedom! You are a good Father who desires us to be free. Show us the way to freedom. In Jesus's name. Amen.
More TRUTH to read!
For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.1 Peter 1: 18-19 NLT
Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
Welcome to our NEW SERIES!! - Breaking Up With the World to Truly, Truly Follow Jesus!
This study is born out of the last eighteen months of my life. God has been walking me through a radical heart transformation by showing me the world's ways I have been enslaved to compared to His truth's found in the gospels.
We are going to follow Jesus and learn from Him each time He says “Truly, Truly”, or “very truly”, or “I tell you solemn truth” depending on which version you are reading from in the Gospel of John. He does not use this incredibly important emphasis lightly and neither will we.
So, each time we see one, we are going to dive into what He means. It holds a truth that will set us free.
Ways to Participate:
Weekly Devotional: Each week I will be sending a devotional on Thursday mornings!
Join the weekly devotional Here:
Facebook Group: Monday's at 5pm MST I will be doing a Facebook live sermonette! I will also be posting challenges and ways to engage with the group!
Join the Facebook Group Here:
And if you know someone who would be blessed by this study, please share it!!