Everything is Spiritual

We began this freedom series talking about some surface level stuff. Finding freedom in the every day. Being bold enough to follow after what you know you’ve been called to do. To know in your heart that you don’t have to be conformed to the image this world wants to lay upon you any longer. There are no gatekeepers, friends. You are free to live, love, and laugh. You are free to do work that makes you come alive and play like there is no tomorrow. You are free.

From there we started down a path that will eventually lead us to talking about how we can fight for our freedom. We have been given our freedom as a gift in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross - remember, freedom isn’t free. But as Galatians 5:1 reminds us, we get to choose whether or not we burden ourselves again with a “yoke of slavery”. We no longer have to be slaves to anything, but it’s going to be a battle to stay free.

So many of us choose to walk each day in the shackles of things that no longer have a hold on us. It doesn’t have to be this way, but it will be a fight.

You Might Not Realize It

Everything you experience every day in your physical world is real but there is a spiritual side to everything as well. Just because you don’t see something, doesn’t mean it’s not real. An example, perhaps?

You can’t see the wind, but it’s there, right? How do you know? It blows the leaves off the trees and around your yard. When you’re lying on the beach and baking in the sun, you feel that cool breeze as it blows over your skin. You can physically see and feel the effects of something that you can’t actually see or even touch.

Like Morpheus in The Matrix, I’m offering you two pills. You can either choose to stay in “Wonderland” where you believe that this physical world is all there is, or you can start to open your eyes to a world which up until now you may not have known existed. A world which, although invisible to our eyes (like the wind) can have an effect in our physical world.

Why Are You Telling Me This?

I offer this choice up to you because I feel like I would have failed you if I did not. You need to know. It’s really for your protection. Here’s why:

Living your life blind to your surroundings is dangerous. It’s putting on your noise cancelling headphones, closing your eyes, and walking down the street as a war is going on all around you. You can’t see or hear anything - which might be great for your adrenaline levels - but it could prove lethal for you.

It’s Little Red Riding Hood sweetly whistling a tune and picking flowers, all the while not knowing that a wolf is stalking her. She’s cute, but the whole time she’s in incredible danger.

If you’re on the outside of these stories, what’s your reaction? If I see the first dude walking down the street in the middle of the war, I’m yelling at him to get down. Waving my arms and jumping up and down. Maybe I’m risking my life to tackle him to the ground.

Tell me the first time you read the story of Little Red Riding Hood you weren’t shouting in your head “Look out! There’s a wolf! Danger!”

If we see something, we should say something. That’s what I’m trying to do here.

Take all of the things that we’ve been talking about, all the things that keep you locked up in your prison, and kind of step back from them. Give yourself permission to look at all of the things you’re experiencing in your life from a little higher viewpoint. As you do, you can begin to see things a little differently. You can begin to see patterns and ideas that you hadn’t seen before.

You can begin to see that you have an enemy and that you are at war.

At War?

Yes, at war. Again, perhaps some examples would help?

You happened to get a major migraine headache just as you were about to head out the door and go to church? Literally as you were about to leave. Do you think that’s an accident?

When you know you should be writing a post about how everything is spiritual and exposing a world to people and all of a sudden you are so overwhelmed by work that you don’t write anything at all … doesn’t that strike you as funny?

Do you think that the “night terrors” that throw your small child into convulsions are just the manifestations of some sort of dream? No, that’s an attack. On your child, on you, on your family.

Not to sound overly dramatic here, but you are being hunted dear friends. 1 Peter 5:8 says:

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Do you see that word? DEVOUR. That is not a nice word. You are being hunted with the express purpose of your complete annihilation.

So What Do We Do?

We talk about “God”, a “higher being”, the “big guy in the sky” as some sort of ethereal thing that exists somewhere … maybe. We talk about Satan in the same way. God, but opposite. We talk about angels and demons and we say we believe in these things. But do we? Do we really live our lives as if these were real?

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

– Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

Because this war is spiritual you don’t necessary see it with your eyes, but you do see it manifest itself in your life. Maybe no one is physically shooting at you, but your soul feels like you were in a fight yesterday. You know that feeling? When you wake up in the morning and for no apparent reason you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck? Yeah, that’s because your soul was beat up yesterday. You’re in a battle you didn’t even know about.

Your sin is a problem, but it’s not the problem. The problem is that you’re fighting a battle against an enemy you can’t fight in physical hand-to-hand combat. If it was a physical enemy you would defend yourself. But your enemy is not physical. You’re fighting a battle against an enemy you may not even know existed and that you definitely can’t touch with your hands.

You wonder why you feel beat up all the time, like you’re losing ground at every turn in life? You wonder why you can’t break free from these sins that seem to be holding you down in your physical world? You wonder why the mantra “try harder” is not working?

It’s because you’re in the midst of a spiritual war, not a physical one, and it’s kicking your butt.

But there is good news. You can fight your enemy. You can win. It is possible.

Your real fight for freedom starts now.

22

I love celebrating milestones. I think it is one of nature’s best ways of tracking time. We all love to be remembered on our birthdays. We look forward to hitting that next tenure bracket at our jobs. “I’ve known you for 25 years but today we’ve officially been Facebook friends for 5 years!”

Today is another milestone day for me. On this day 22 years ago, Heather and I got married.

22 years! Man, it doesn’t feel like it was that long ago.

Time has a funny way of passing doesn’t it? The days go by so slowly but the years add up so fast.

In the past 22 years we’ve moved 7 times, had 2 children, 1 dog, and a few beta fish. We’ve seen some pretty low lows and some pretty amazing miracles. Hey Heav, remember that time we found $500 in an envelope on our door?

At times, being married has been the biggest struggle we could imagine and at others it’s been the easiest, most natural thing in the world. We’ve fought with each other and for each other. Here’s a hint: it’s better when you fight for.

There are so many great stories that happen in the course of 22 years.

We got lost on Mackinaw Island on our honeymoon. With Heather, before GPS, we always got lost. Always.

When Heather was pregnant with Trae, I was super afraid that I was going to lose both of them when I “just happened” to come home for lunch one day to find Heather having seizures. A frantic phone call to her doctor and then to 911. Me driving as fast as I’ve ever driven on the road, following the ambulance that came to take her to the hospital. And a story that ends with a “ruggedly handsome” son and miracles all around.

And so many more.

God is so good to have given me the gift that Heather is. I know, like many of the gifts I’ve been given that I don’t deserve such an extravagant gift. I count it all blessing from a Father that loves me.

Heather, I love you more now than I did then. You are everything a guy could hope for. You truly are my Wonder Woman.

An anniversary haiku and then I’m done.

Twenty-two years old

Happy Anniversary

Let’s go eat tacos

Why Aren't We Free?

The prison doors have been opened, the gates swung wide. The warden has come to you, handed your release papers to you, and in his gruff, awkward voice informs you that you are free to go.

Yet you sit in your cell. Looking around, you see all the memories of the years you’ve spent here. This cell, this prison, has become your home.

You could walk out at any time, but you don’t. You’re frozen. In your head you’d like to get up and leave but you can’t seem to will your legs to move. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to make it happen.

What We Know

We’ve already established that you are free. You are no longer held captive by anything.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. – Galatians 5:1

When Jesus died he took away all our sins and put them on himself. He made us free. The walls of our prisons shook. Our chains were broken loose. The doors were opened wide.

So Why Can’t We Leave?

Because of what Jesus has done, we are no longer required to sit in our cells. We can get up and leave at any time. So why do we stay? There is fresh air and sunshine, friends and family, and freedom just outside that door. Yet we languish in our prison, now of our own making. We do it on purpose, with intention, and of our own free will. We sabotage ourselves into staying.

Why would we do that? Here are some reasons that we choose to stay:

Familiarity

We stay where we are because it’s what we know.

As long as you sit in that cell they continue to bring you 3 square meals a day. They walk you out into the yard for some fresh air and maybe a bit of exercise and then take you back to sit in your cell once again.

There’s just something about this place. It’s not particularly comfortable, but it’s horribly familiar. Yeah you have to use the bathroom in what amounts to being in public. The cinder block walls and metal bed are always cold and there’s a faint hint of mold in the air at all times. But you have a few books and enough room to stretch out if you need to. Maybe you even have a chair or a desk if you’re one of the lucky ones. This prison cell has become your home.

We’re creatures of habit and tend to trend toward what we already know or are comfortable with. Our sin, our “habits”, have become a sort of “center” for us. We know what to expect out of them and we’ve made an agreement with them over time.

It’s Not That Bad

You’ve all probably heard the story of the dog sitting on the nail, right? Just in case, here’s the really quick version:

A person moves in across the street from someone whose dog just howls and howls. All day and all night the dog just won’t stop howling. After a few frustrating days the person goes to their new neighbor and asks him about the dog. “Is everything alright?,” they ask.

“Oh yeah. He’s just laying on a nail.,” the new neighbor says. “Well why doesn’t he just get up and move?” “Well, I suppose because it doesn’t hurt that much.”

🤦‍♂️

We laugh at that. In our heads we might even chastise the dog. “That’s dumb. If he’d just move he’d feel so much better.”

But … this is our story. Think about it. We stay in our prison cell, locked away in our sins, because, well … they just don’t hurt that much. The pain of the sin or addiction and it’s circumstances just aren’t strong enough for us to make any real changes. Yeah, we could walk out the door to freedom but things aren’t that bad in here. Why leave?

Fear

We are afraid to move. Literally scared out of our minds. We’re afraid of what we’ll find “out there.” It’s a different world with different rules and expectations. If you were to leave, what would life be like?

Freedom is a scary proposition. Choosing it is to choose life but, in the short term, it might feel like death. Like starting a new diet, you have to leave behind your comforts and lovers and move into new territory. Broccoli instead of potato chips. Water instead of Mountain Dew.

Caffeine withdrawal headaches suuuucccckkkk and it feels like death. In the long run though, when you’ve gotten past the hard withdrawal parts, there is freedom. Your body is so much healthier for it.

The same is true with the things that keep us in our cell. We fear what the short-term pains of freedom will be. We might need to leave behind some “friends.” We might need to not go that certain way home. We might need to actually pick up a glass of water.

Whatever the thing keeping you in your cell is, we don’t look past the short-term pain long enough to know how worth it leaving our cells and embracing that pain will be. All we see is pain. So we stay rooted where we are. It’s easier to stay in your prison than it is to have to figure out how to change your life.

We Don’t Honor The Gift

As we learned last week, freedom isn’t free, but it was free for us. Jesus bought our freedom on the cross. It was a gift. It’s ours. We are free and it didn’t cost us anything.

But what I’ve learned about free things is that we typically don’t value them as much as we would if we had paid for them ourselves.

How many free ebooks do you have that you’ve never read? How many free samples of things that you’ve never opened? How many free 30-day trials to things that you never even used once. (Side note: Raise your hand if you’ve ever signed up for a trail period like that and then you forgot you had to cancel it. They charged you, and you were like “What even is this thing?” ✋)

We take gifts given to us that we don’t really want and re-gift them. We bring home large quantities of stuff from conferences (a.k.a. “swag”) and then dump the majority of it in the trash because we don’t really care about it.

Regardless of the source, we tend to place low value on things that are free.

We’ve been given a great gift. Our freedom has been handed to us, but rather than walk in that freedom, we choose to stay in our prison cell.

Maybe we don’t really believe that the gift was for us. Maybe we don’t accept it because we’re trying to avoid getting burned. Maybe we don’t believe that we’re worthy of such an extravagant gift. Maybe, just maybe, we don’t care.

Whatever the case, we don’t honor the gift that has been given to us. We throw it away. We believe that the life we have inside our prison cell is better than the life of freedom that’s been handed to us.

You Are Free

The truth is, we are free.

There are no chains. No shackles or handcuffs. There isn’t even one of those ankles bracelets with the GPS tracking that tell the authorities where we are.

But here we sit, in a prison of our own making.

Let me tell you something. Our time of remaining in our prison has come to an end. We’ve embraced these reasons, these excuses for far too long. It’s time for us to break down the walls of our prison with intention and purpose. With hammer in hand we must destroy it.

Our enemy would rather that we leave it standing. Even if we walk out into the daylight of freedom, if we leave the walls of our prison intact, he knows that we have a fallback in case we ever want to go back. There will always be something left to entice us.

We would rather leave our prison standing too. I mean, after all, we built it. Brick by brick, over a long period of time. It really is a work of art. Craftsmanship of the highest order. We spent so much of our lives building it. It would be a shame to bring it all crashing down.

Also, when things get tough, when the arrows of the enemy inevitably come crashing down on us, we’ll desire a place of safety and refuge. If you’re in prison, you don’t need to worry about the arrows, right? You’re not vulnerable. The enemy has no reason to shoot at you. It feels like a safe place.

Guys and gals … listen to me … IT’S PRISON! You’re a prisoner. It is not a safe place. You might not get shot at. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t some dude with a shank waiting for you around the corner. I’ve seen Prison Break, I know how these things work.

As long as even one brick of your prison remains on another, we will always have a tendency to go back. We will start picking up the pieces and slowly but surely putting it all back together again. Each time we do, the prison gets a little bigger and infinitely harder to destroy.

We must fight this with everything within us. We need to feel the pain of our imprisonment for what it is, and find the desire to leave it forever.

Once you’ve tasted freedom, I mean real freedom, the last thing you need is to be tempted to go back to what you once knew. Remaining free will be the hardest thing you’ll ever do in your life. It will be the most important work you might ever do.

It will be worth it, I promise.

Honor the gift you’ve been given. Fight against familiarity, pain, and fear. Stand up and walk out of your prison.

After all, you’re free, remember? You can do that.

Freedom Isn't Free

It’s World War II. Free nations come to the aid of those whose freedom has been taken away by force. Millions of men and woman fought and died to turn back the hand of those who would seek to oppress and control the world.

But freedom is restored.

Sauron and Saruman make evil plans and send out their war machine to take over the whole of Middle Earth. The free people of the land - elves, and dwarves, and men (and a few hobbits) - join together to stop them and to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mordor. Many, many people die in the process.

But freedom is restored.

Each of us are condemned to death because of our sins and failures. Jesus, the perfect son of God, out of the greatest act of selfless love, takes upon himself the penalty meant for us, and dies an excruciating death in our place.

But freedom is restored for all people.

In his ultimate sacrifice, Jesus took the keys to hell and death for himself, thereby setting us free. He paid the price that we should have had to pay for our freedom.

With all of our mistakes, sins, and baggage, we deserve the penalty of death but Jesus took that penalty for us so that we wouldn’t have to.

He freely sacrificed his life so that we could have ours.

Freedom isn’t free.

We Have a Choice

We’ve been given a wonderful gift. Our freedom was handed to us on a cross. It was laid in a tomb from which, three days later, it came out, alive and well. What are we to do with that?

We have a couple of choices.

The first option is to choose to ignore that freedom and to live our lives the way that we want to. We can choose to go back to the slavery that we were freed from.

The second option is to choose to live in that freedom that was so freely given to us.

Which one should we choose?

The first choice might seem easier. Life as we want it sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? No one telling us what to do or how to do it?

Except that it’s a lie.

Remember that you are in a war. In choosing to go your own way, the way of your sins and addictions, you are choosing to live in occupied territory. You may not actively be on the front lines of the war, but that doesn’t make the war any less real. You live in a walled city created by a harsh taskmaster. Your enemy will make you feel like you’re free but the reality is that you’re not allowed to move outside the walls he has erected to keep you in. Oh you can do pretty much anything you want to … except leave. You are living such a small story. You’re not really free.

The latter is harder. You will live on the front lines of the war. You will be shot at with flaming arrows. You will sometimes get hurt. You will have to fight each and every day. This war against your heart will never end.

But here’s the thing.

There is a larger and better story than the one you’re living right now. A story of freedom, yes, but also adventure, chaos, and redemption. A story of grace, mercy, and love. It is a story fraught with peril but filled to overflowing with feasting, songs, and dancing. It is a story that began before the fabric of time itself and somewhere, deep down inside, you can hear it calling out to you. It is the grandest and largest story of them all and you have a vital role to play in it.

Will there be danger? Absolutely. Will you get hurt? Probably. But at the end of all things, if you don’t give up, you will be a hero. On that day, the one who paid the price for your freedom will approach. He will give you a robe, put a crown on your head, and give you a new name. The name that you were meant to have all along. The name that you will wear for eternity. Your true name.

Then he will put his hand on your shoulder. With a smile upon his face he will look you in the eyes and say “Well done.”

Later, sitting around the fire with your brothers and sisters, you will share stories of the battles you fought so bravely together. You will compare the scars you’ve gotten along the way, and you will know that every one of them was well earned and worth every ounce of pain that you had to endure. You will know then that your freedom was worth the price.

Now that sounds way better than living in an occupied walled city out of harms reach of the war, doesn’t it?

Happy First Birthday!

One year olds don’t need birthday parties.

Birthday parties for one year olds are completely for the parents. They put together this elaborate event with a theme, and balloons, and a cake that all matches. They invite all their friends and family and make all this hullabaloo. For what?

To watch their child absolutely destroy a cake, make a GIANT mess (which, by the way, as a parent you probably wouldn’t have tolerated the day before and you most likely won’t like the next day), take a thousand pictures, and call it cute.

Let me let you in on a little secret. The one year old child doesn’t care. Not even a little bit. They have no idea what’s going on.

One year olds don’t care about giant birthday parties. They care about eating and sleeping and maybe a little walking and playing with some toys. They care about doing all those things around people that they love and feel safe with. That’s it. That’s all they care about.

And so it is with this blog.

This blog couldn’t care less about turning 1. You know who cares? Me.

I do! This is a tremendous day. It’s a milestone marker for me. The blog itself is just a tool. It’s pretty agnostic as to who is using it or even what it does. But to me, today is a really big deal. A really, REALLY big deal.

What is the purpose of this blog? Why do I write every week?

I didn’t start out writing this blog with a “purpose” or theme in mind. All I knew was that God had told me that I needed to be writing. So I wrote.

Now, I make it sound like it was easy. Oh, God said do it, so I did it. That’s not exactly the way it went down. In truth, He and I have been having this conversation about my writing for a long time. I’m talking YEARS. It was a long, long time before I ever wrote the first word here. He wanted me to write. I even wanted to write. But …

If you know me then you know there are at least two things about me that kind of get in the way of me accomplishing anything. One, I get obsessive when it comes to details. Every little thing has to be perfect or I won’t do it. And two, I am easily swayed to just let the world take me where it wants to take me. I have great plans but struggle in the follow through department.

So for years I would “wrestle” with God over details. What should I write about? How long should each post be? Where should I do my writing at? What format should it be in? Blah, blah, blah. Then I would just get tired of fighting through it all and I’d conveniently just forget to start. I’d get started writing something and then miss a day and let the whole writing enterprise fall by the wayside.

So near the beginning of last year God and I were once again having a conversation about my writing. He was telling me how I needed to write and I was confessing my fears about needing to have a plan and a theme for what I wrote and a place to put it all. I was giving Him all the excuses.

  • “I don’t have just one thing that I want to write about. A successful blog needs a theme.”
  • “I don’t have a website yet. And I don’t want to use Wordpress. I can’t start writing because I don’t have a home for it.”
  • “How am I going to find the time to write?”

I could keep going, but you get the gist. Basically I was just making excuses. So in desperation I asked God one last time: “What should I write about?” His answer: “It doesn’t matter. I want you to write. The rest will come.”

It still took me 8 months to write my first post.

You’re a Fool

I have heard it said that the definition of a fool is someone who knows what to do yet refuses to do it. I was being a fool. I knew what to do, I just didn’t want to do it. I felt so unprepared. I felt like I was going to be embarrassed. Like no one was going to read what I wrote anyway … so why bother?

I needed to bother. Even if no one else in the entire world read my blog posts, I needed to write them. No matter what it was I wrote about, whatever it was that God put on my heart, or that had my attention that particular week, I needed to be obedient to the call to write. I needed to write for me. It was (and is) a form of therapy, and time spent with God, and learning for me.

I hope that everything I write about will help others like it helps me. There will come a time (in the very near future I think) where what I write about will be dictated by the problems and pains that you, my lovely readers, are having and that I can help solve.

I’ll be honest. I want to write and sell books and make money at this craft. I want to have an audience that cares about what I write. I really do want to have an effect on peoples lives. What writer doesn’t?

But if all I ever do is write to please others all the time then my audience becomes someone it was never meant to be. My writing has always been on purpose to satisfy a calling.

Ultimately, it’s for an audience of one.

Stats

That being said, I do care about numbers and stats because they are a marker of growth. I definitely want my blog to grow. I believe God does too. I know we’ll get there in time.

So, what’s the first year been like?

I started out by publishing my posts on Medium because I needed them to have a home. I’m super grateful that Medium provides a place where people can post their thoughts without having to build something custom and personal right out of the gate.

The very first official piece for this blog was posted on August 17, 2018. It is called “Gratitude Changes Everything.” To this day it has gotten 19 total views. It’s a great little piece. You should read it.

Since then I’ve posted 50 other posts (for a total of 51 - including this post). I only took off one week early on when I thought I would not post on the weeks that I had my sabbatical week. Since then I’ve learned that I can write early and still post something even when I’m not officially working on stuff. Also, that consistency is key. These were big revelations.

Over the course of the year I have published 47,879 words for a 938.8 word average per post. That’s the equivalent of a 192 page book! Week by week it doesn’t seem like a lot, but they definitely add up over time. Also, if I /published/ that many words, how many words do you think I actually wrote before editing? Haha … so many words!

The biggest thing of this year happened on April 26, 2019. On that day I published a piece called “Hello World” in which introduced all of you to my new website. That was a giant day for me. I had wanted a home of my own where I could post what I wanted to, when I wanted to and I finally had one. I love it. I hope you do too!

The top 5 posts of the year (by number of views) are as follows:

  1. This is My Story (66 views)
  2. What’s Up For Me in 2019 (48 views)
  3. Practical Ways to Rest - Bonus Episode (35 views)
  4. Year Six (30 views)
  5. Gratitude Changes Everything (19 views)

Thank You and Future Plans

Thank you so much for reading along with what I’ve been writing this past year! It means so much to me that you would come along for the ride.

For me personally, this year has been a huge success. Making it a whole year where I consistently posted every week is a giant achievement. Like a really big deal. There are very few things in my life that I have stuck with that consistently over time. It feels really good to make it this far. I don’t plan on stopping now.

I’ve got plans for the future. Slowing but surely I’ll be making changes to my website to make it better or easier to use. Maybe I’ll throw in some new post types and try my hand at quotes or link lists or something - but never in place of my weekly post. I’m about ready to really start working on adding a weekly email newsletter where you can get these posts in your inbox every week instead of just hoping you come across the promotional post on Facebook or Twitter.

But I need your help in so many ways. If this blog is ever going to really succeed, it will happen because of all of you. So I have some requests.

First, if you like something that I write, if it touches something in you, please share it with others. This thing only spreads if we all share it.

Second, let me know what kinds of things you’d like to see me write about. What problems or pain points are you experiencing? What topics haven’t I touched on yet? If you’ve ever said to yourself “He should write about that”, this is your chance. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or via email. Let me know!

Again, thank you so much for coming along on this ride with me. You are all so special to me.

Happy birthday, my little blog! Keep growing up. You’re doing great.


Because You Read All The Way To The Bottom: Good news! Did you know the song “Happy Birthday to You!” is no longer copyrighted material? It’s true! It is now in the public domain. You can now sing that song at birthday parties without fear of reprisal or being slapped with large fees. You could even record that song and post it on Youtube if you want. Sing away!

Fighting for Freedom - An Introduction

“Come back next week and we’ll dig a little deeper into what is takes to actually be free.”

This is what I said at the end of last weeks post. Those are my words. It’s an exact quote.

What was I thinking?

There are some people who are really great at taking a large topic and condensing it down into concise statements that make sense. That’s not me. I tend to be a little wordier. As if you hadn’t noticed. 😉

I Want to Affect Your Appreciation

The more I thought through the topic of fighting for freedom the more I came up with to write about. Any attempt at condensing it into one blog post seemed like a travesty. The topic deserves more respect and care than that.

You guys ever see the TV show Sports Night? It’s a great little show about a group of people who are creating a nightly sports show in the vein of SportsCenter. If you haven’t, you should see it. Ask me, I’ll let you borrow my DVD’s.

Anyway, there is a great bit in one of the episodes that defines the battle I’m having with this topic of fighting for freedom.

One of the producers (his name is Jeremy) is putting together his first highlight package for a baseball game. The show has a lot of games to cover that night, so each game is probably only going to get 10-15 seconds of airtime. Jeremy tries his hardest, but his first cut of the game is eight and a half minutes long. What ensues is a hilarious battle of creative differences. Jeremy wants to affect people’s appreciation of baseball. He wants to show “the battle.” Casey, one of the anchors of the show is just trying to convince Jeremy to “make it shorter.” Eventually, Dana, the executive producer has to get involved, telling Jeremy, much to his chagrin, that the cut should just have three particular items in it. Jeremy complies but ultimately feels that the life was sucked out of the piece.

Gosh, I feel so much like Jeremy right now.

Constraints

Constraints are great. If this was my job (like it was Jeremy’s) and my editor said they needed 2,000 words on fighting for freedom with three main bullet points, I would find a way to give them just that. You would get the gist of the topic, but it would be missing it’s life. Fortunately for me, this is my blog (haha!) and I have no such constraints. I am my own editor.

If I just cut down what fighting for freedom means, if I condense it down into a few bullet points that squash it into one post, then I do the entire topic a disservice. I would have done what I said I was going to do (“… we’ll dig a little deeper into what is takes to actually be free.”), but that wouldn’t really serve you well. I want to serve you well. I want this to be a great resource for you both now, and into the future.

You Are Free …

For now, let’s get started with a little introduction.

Last week we established that you are already free. You are no longer held captive by anything.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. – Galations 5:1

Just because we are free doesn’t mean that we don’t choose to continue to live in bondage to our sins. It doesn’t mean that we haven’t allowed ourselves to be “burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

There are places in us that we choose to stay enslaved to. All too often we get a taste of freedom and yet choose to turn around and walk right back to our prison cell. There are a number of reasons I believe that we choose to do this, and we’ll get to those in the coming weeks.

… But It’s a War

The thought I want to leave with you today is this: You live in the midst of a great war. It’s battle after battle of arrows and armor and swords and lions looking to devour. It’s a war for your heart. As John Eldredge says in his book Waking the Dead:

“The story of your life is the story of the long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows what you could be and fears it.”

You are free, but you live in the midst of a war unlike any other. It will require everything from you. You must fight if you are to stay free. Freedom, after all, isn’t free.

Coming Up

Next week we’re going to break from this freedom series (that we literally just started) to celebrate a certain blogs birthday (our little guy here turns 1! 🎁🎂🎉). The week after that we’ll dive right back in and really start to delve into what it looks like to fight for your freedom.