Devotional by Amber LaBarbera
Have you ever noticed that it doesn’t take much to entertain a toddler? They influence us to use goofy voices and make silly faces that could otherwise be considered strange. Everything is interesting and exciting. Songs that would drive us crazy after a while are their favorite to sing in the car on repeat. Dancing to any beat or rhythm happens without concern for who might be watching. Even as they get a little older, they’re unafraid to ask the most honest questions. I am fascinated by the awe and wonder that children have and the freedom they live in. They haven’t yet become familiar with the way the world works or the fall of humanity. They haven’t had much opportunity to be heart broken or experience deep grief. They know right and wrong, but have less propensity to walk around weighed down by guilt.
Somewhere along the way, we become more aware of what’s wrong with life than what’s exciting about it. We allow life to add layers to us – some for better and some for worse – and we become weighed down. Many of these weights are lies from the enemy that we hold onto, sometimes without even realizing it. It’s easy to start to think, “This is just the way it is.” Some people go their whole lives looking for freedom from their own humanity, only to find themselves in even more of a bind.
Jesus says in John 10:10 NIV “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
I’ve always thought that we are like characters in the most exciting story about God’s love for humanity. Since superhero movies are so popular, imagine being one of the citizens walking down a street in your favorite superhero movie on your way to work. Suddenly your city gets attacked. There is a gradual rise of panic, chaos, and fear. Everyone is running for shelter and looking for ways to escape. You’re about to get snatched by the villain when Superman sweeps in and tries to save you. Can you imagine being in distress but not allowing him to save you because you have a fear of heights and you’d rather keep running on foot?
As disappointing as that movie scene would be, people do live like that. We have a tendency to want to take matters into our own hands, even though our Creator is the one who could truly bring restoration, miracles, redemption, and the freedom we were looking for the whole time. To me, freedom is not the absence of unfortunate circumstances or tough times, but rather releasing it to the one who is really on the throne. It sounds a bit cliché, but there is power in “letting go and letting God” because THERE IS FREEDOM IN SURRENDER. We have been rescued from our own mishaps in a beautiful exchange of beauty for ashes, and now get to live to tell the story. When we come to realize the truth about our Savior and that He is the epitome of authentic love (the kind all of our hearts long for) and allow Him to be Lord of our lives, we step into the freedom He offers.
In John 8:31-32 NIV Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Being a true disciple of Christ means trusting that God knows best, in fact, better than we do, and not taking our freedom for granted. I love how the Message puts 1 Peter 2:16-17 “Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government.”
I consistently thank God for the amazing life He gives His children and pray that I never lose my sense of awe and wonder for it all. What’s even more exciting: just like those little children who are constantly fascinated by every new discovery, there is always more to discover about our creator. He always wants to take us somewhere new. THIS is the exciting, liberating, colorful, vibrant, fulfilling, life of freedom we are meant to live in a relationship with Him.