24 Feb '13
Suffering and freedom
Life lived with God is a journey of becoming free. It is a journey from selfishness to selflessness, from sin to righteousness, from facades to authenticity, from living by the expectations of others to that of pleasing an audience of one, from our sinful nature to a life in the Spirit. Every step toward freedom is a step in the right direction. Jesus said, "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." Freedom in Christ is a wonderful place to live.
As citizens of a world that has been interrupted by Satan, we are held captive by many things: pride; independence; materialism; success; self-sufficiency; the expectations of others; sinful habits; distractions from those things that are most important and selfish hearts.
Every time one of those captive makers are stripped from our lives we become more free, more like the person God created us to be and our hearts more like His. In a divine reversal, what we consider to be the ultimate disaster can in fact be a freedom maker.
Once I have experienced a great failure, I no longer need to worry about failing. Once I have lost my self sufficiency I no longer need to pretend I am self sufficient and am free to rely on God. Once having been humbled by suffering in its many versions, I can let go of my pride - I am forced to and it is freeing. Now I can just be me! No longer do I need to pretend I am something I am not. I am free to live with authenticity.
When I have not lived up to the expectations of others I realize that not only can I not pull that off but I don't need to. Another step toward freedom. The pain of suffering clarifies those things that are not really important in my life that I can jettison without guilt - and I am free to focus on what is truly important.
The focus of dealing with tough life situations brings to the surface sinful habits and tendencies that in my pain I realize are wrong and counterproductive. Leaving them behind gives me freedom.
In thousands of way, large and small, suffering points us toward Christ and faith and trust and humility and toward a greater life of freedom. Counter intuitively, life come undone contributes to a life of freedom.