Proclaiming Freedom

Years ago, I listened quite a bit to Christian radio. One of the people whose teachings I enjoyed was Steve Brown. He’s a retired Presbyterian pastor who may still teach at Reformed Seminary in Florida. He is a master in storytelling and he gives these quips that stick with you and help you learn about the Kingdom of God.  There is one such quip I have always remembered; he uses it to describe our role as Christians in the world:

“We are just beggars, showing other beggars where to find bread.”

What I like about this quip is that it shows our humility, it keeps us from thinking we have something over others. We are, after all, simply beggars in a world of beggars. It wraps up the Christian message quite neatly. But I’d like to change it up a bit to express another way of saying the same thing.

We are just slaves, helping other slaves find the path to freedom.

Some people want to look around and see zombies. Well, I’m not really a Walking Dead kind of person, but I often encounter people who are held captive.

You see, I know what it is like to be unfree.

In my early thirties, I was in a prison of anxiety and depression. While others joke about their OCD tendencies, I lived the horror of OCD. I now understand that my issues were a weird combination of heredity, hormones, my auto-immune disorders, and likely my own controlling, yet fearful nature. But at the time, I was in a place of shame due to my perceived inadequacies. I had no such understanding. Counseling and medication helped a bit. However, I believe I was healed from these things by the intentional and intensive study of scriptures. Through this study practice, I learned about God first hand. Sometimes what I learned did not jive so well with what I had been led to believe. As a result, God delivered me into freedom.

The problem is we are slaves to so much in this world. We are sometimes held hostage by our stories, our memories. We can often become enslaved to our circumstances, maintaining our lifestyle, striving for more. It is easy to see how we can become captive to some of our religious traditions. Our expectations, lies we believe about ourselves, lies we are told by the world, perhaps even imprisoned by our health, so many, many things can keep us from freedom.

And Satan likes it that way. When we are slaves to any of those things, he wins. At least, temporarily.

But Jesus does not intend for us to live as slaves, he intends for us to live in freedom.

After Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit at his baptism by John, he went into the wilderness and was tempted by Satan for 40 days and 40 nights. Jesus did not give into Satan’s temptations and when this time was through, he went home to Galilee to begin his ministry. He was the visiting Rabbi for that Sabbath, and it happened that the chosen passage for this particular Sabbath was his actual pronouncement for his mission to the world. He read from Isaiah 61:1-2, and the passage is found in Luke 4:18-19 (NIV).

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.

Jesus went on from his reading and gave commentary:

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.  He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:20-21, NIV)

His whole ministry on this earth had the purpose of setting people free. It’s why he came. The healings, the deliverance from demons, and the words he taught all had the goal of releasing people from the bondages of whatever was keeping them from being free.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be free from the burdens that weigh me down. I long for the day when peace reigns entirely within my soul. But I have some measure of freedom in these things:

  • Freedom from the expectations of others
  • Freedom from having to live my faith in a certain way
  • Freedom from the “shoulds” and “ought tos”
  • Freedom from the grasp of anxiety and depression that tried to destroy me

And I like the feel of freedom.

Jesus gives us freedom to be the child of God, to know the love and delight God has for us. He says to us (my paraphrase): Come to me and see the truth of your bondage. I want nothing more than to set you free!

And our role on this earth is to help others find the freedom Christ offers. Nothing brings me more joy than to be involved in the process of others experiencing the freedom Christ intends for them to possess in their lives.

Your path to freedom begins when you acknowledge the slavery you are in, seek Jesus, and ask him to set you free. That’s why he came!

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. ~ Galatians 5:1a

Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Rebecca Montie Preston
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Rebecca Montie Preston

Becky is a Spiritual Director from southeastern Pennsylvania.Her other roles include wife, mother of two, and grandmother of six.She has her MA from Biblical Theological Seminary, and studied at Renovare Institute for Spiritual Formation and Kairos School for Spiritual Direction.
Rebecca Montie Preston
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10 thoughts on “Proclaiming Freedom

  1. Susan McMillan

    Thank you Rebecca. Thank you for the reminder of God’s grace even when we think we can do without him(we absolutely cannot). Beggars is a perfect discription for any of us to visualize and understand that it’s only by God’s grace that we have been given the word to share with others that are as sinful as we are. He is Gracious enough to redeem sinners and use them for His purpose.🙏

    Reply

    1. Rebecca Preston

      And we want to, don’t we? Once we find “bread” or freedom, we so want others to experience it also!

      Reply

  2. Sarah Robinson

    So glad you’ve found the ultimate freedom! And how good it feels, I’m agreeing with you wholeheartedly.
    Keep up the good work. Thanks for sharing your experience, strength and hope.

    Reply

    1. Rebecca Preston

      Thanks, Sarah!

      Reply

  3. Marilyn Bartha

    Thank you Becky! Reading your journey and prompted by the Holy Spirit, I am reminded that there are still areas of bondage in me. With God’s Word and help, freedom is possible in the kingdom of God. How precious that promise. Thanks for the reminder.
    I celebrate with you the areas of redemption that are already at work in us.

    Reply

    1. Rebecca Preston

      It’s a journey. We are gently guided by the Holy Spirit to those areas that need work, and then the next area, and the next area….

      Reply

  4. Gretchen

    From beggars and slaves to free and forgiven! Your post has my heart pumping, as if getting ready to cheer! Thank you, Becky, for this wise affirmation of what I already know to be true–but need to hear often, because I’m a lot like Peter (I forget). But if Peter can live free and forgiven, so can I. Love your words.

    Reply

    1. Rebecca Preston

      Thanks Gretchen! I didn’t use Janisas I thought I had. I know she was singing in the back of my head, though!

      Reply

  5. Diane Karchner

    ‘Come to me and see the truth of your bondage.’ I love the beggars analogy from Brown, but even more the picture of ourselves as slaves trying to help other slaves get free. But without coming first to Jesus, we don’t even know we are in bondage sometimes. So thankful, as another commenter said, that the grace that God gives us to see that, and have an escape.

    Reply

  6. Rebecca Preston

    Once we see the bondage within us, and experience freedom, we want to share it with others!!

    Reply

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