Steve’s Devotional – Holding the Land: Rewards
DECEMBER 1, 2014
If you are a free and bold Christian, you will face all kinds of pressure. You will be criticized. You will be looked down on as less of a Christian. You will find yourself thinking of the days when you didn’t make waves, when you were a phony, when you were dishonest…and when you were liked by everyone.
And, as a result, there will be times when you will want to go back to the very prisons you escaped from, the prisons—of failure, perfectionism, religion, the past and the like—that deprived you of your freedom in Christ.
Paul’s surprise at the Galatians should not have been a surprise when he wrote: “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel” (Galatians 1:6).
We can “slip back into the darkness” quite easily. And it’s serious business: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8). “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us…” (Galatians 3:13). “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
I want to offer some help in holding the land of boldness and freedom. It is very valuable land, bought with a terrible price…the blood of Christ. Let’s check it out.
The Rewards that Sell the Land
Rewards sell the land in both the present and the future: “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Galatians 4:4-7). “But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
I have an aversion to “Prosperity Theology.” I just can’t see how things could be so good for the followers of a religion whose founder ended up on a cross and whose chief spokesman had a physical problem that God wouldn’t remove (2 Corinthians 12).
Freedom costs…but freedom also carries its rewards.
Remember the rewards. It will help you hold the land.
- The free Christian finds that he or she is living a life of progressive sanctification; not because he or she has to, but because of a joyous response to love.
- The free Christian is released from the demons of the past and is no longer enslaved to the heritage of the prison.
- The free Christian is free from a life of rules—“Thou shalt not” is not the basis of a relationship with God.
- The free Christian is no longer living in constant fear of other people, of being discovered, of failing or of making a mistake.
- The free Christian is no longer haunted by an overwhelming sense of guilt. Guilt is replaced by the realization of being acceptable to God.
- The free Christian is shed of empty religion, of meaningless acts of piety…He or she doesn’t have to pretend to be a Christian anymore.
- The free Christian is released from the social pressure to be something or to do something.
- The free Christian is released from the need to whine about being a worm…He or she can now accept compliments and praise without feeling guilty.
- The free Christian can accept his or her humanness.
- The free Christian is free from the obligation to fix everything that is broken, from solving every problem and from being everybody’s mother.
- The free Christian is released from the prison of failure; all of the false Christianity that made failure an asset is gone and the free Christian can now be everything God intended.
- And finally, the free Christian is no longer subservient to false heroes or to manipulative gurus.
With Christ, there is real freedom and boldness in life…
Here is an important point: Freedom is attractive to pagans. Most people become Christians despite Christians. But if pagans saw the freedom, they would be drawn to the Man who has the key. His name is Jesus.
Time to Draw Away
Read John 8:36, Romans 8:14-17, 2 Corinthians 3:17, Ephesians 2:1-10 & 1 Peter 2:16
How can you personally express your freedom? Go over that list of rewards again and “claim” it as your own. Then laugh, dance and celebrate, all the while thanking God for his grace!