Galations 5:1: “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”
What a great privilege we have as citizens of the United States. We have so many freedoms to go, say, be and become! In all of this freedom comes the challenge of choice and the responsibility for those choices. How much greater the freedom for believers and the responsibility for our choices especially as they impact our relationship to God, influence those around us and impact who we become.
Many of us see great potential for new adventures in faith, relationships and personal improvement. Christ’s call is for us to join him on a great journey. It is important for us to pack correctly if we are to make the most of the trip!
We have been set free not just from something but to something. It is important that we are freed from all that keeps us from being able to join Christ in his adventure of faith. When we put off the loads that hold us back, baggage that is negative and not needed, then we can move forward with grace, power and purpose.
HOW TO PACK FOR A FUTURE OF FREEDOM
- Check Your Bags
What are your familiar failures? Is it an undercurrent of sadness, anger, or criticism? Is it compulsive behavior of abusive eating? Do you sabotage good progress, jobs or friendships by making erratic and destructive decisions? Acknowledge the pattern and name it. Be prepared for it and don’t let it sneak up on you.
- Pack Light
There may be many things that are carried in your personal baggage that no longer serve a purpose. Listening to old critical messages [from others or yourself] and letting them have destructive influence give the “power of darkness” [accusation] a larger place than the “power of light” [encouragement].Christ gives freedom from the accuser. Seek positive insightful people who want you to succeed for counsel, friendship and spiritual support.
- Travel With a Friend
We were made for relationship. Evaluate where you spend your time. Are you becoming more affirming or more critical, more accepting or more judgmental, more hopeful or more discouraged, more of a giver or more of a taker? The more time you spend with people who demonstrate the character of Christ, the more you have insured you will get to your destination in good fashion.
- Follow the Map
Make sure that where you are headed will get you where you want to go. The character of Christ as revealed in the Scripture shows us what the destination looks like. We can test our character to see if we are following the correct path. How do we treat our families, people who serve us in public places and co-workers? Is how I spend my time and how I care for my body, mind and soul the path I want my children to follow? The way I am living my life now – is it how I want to be remembered? If not make a course correction. Join a personal improvement class, a support group, a prayer ministry, volunteer at a food bank, begin an exercise program, enroll in a Bible Study! If the answer is “yes, I am on the right course now” then hold the course and keep doing what is getting you moving ahead. Plan for bumps in the road like family dinner on the grounds and map your course early—like eat lightly before you go, take dishes that are on your program and plan to exercise.
By faith we are free to move—but why not move ahead?
Dr. Bill Heston
Howard Payne University
Dr. William Heston was minister of pastoral care at Houston’s First Baptist Church; clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and a marriage therapist licensed by the state of Texas. He has also led seminars at First Place Conferences.