Friday, July 2, 2010

FREEDOM: The Place of the Spirit

Freedom is something that is easy to ignore, until it’s lost. For most of us, in this great land of ours, we simply don’t know the feeling of life without freedom. Granted, many of us believe we are slowly loosing our individual rights, and its likely more losses will follow, but nonetheless, I don’t have a clue as to what life would be without freedom. And I’m pretty sure you don’t know either.

As we approach our annual Independence Day celebration, can we stop for just one moment and give deep heartfelt thanks for the freedoms we do enjoy? For while it is still day, may we invite and employ the Spirit of the Lord to do what He does best. Perpetuate FREEDOM as the veil is lifted.

Paul the Apostle wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:17, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (NIV) I wonder how we would interpret this passage if we lived under the tyranny of some dictator. I wonder how we would interpret this passage if we were jailed for what we spoke and what we believe. I wonder how we would interpret this passage IF WE LOST OUR FREEDOMS.

I suppose we, as spoiled Americans, would be very frustrated and declare that God must not love us anymore and definitely that His Spirit has departed. But can I say if we really understood the freedom that comes from the abiding and indwelling Spirit of God, our demands and questions of freedoms lost would evaporate like morning dew on grass.

For while most of us interpret the freedoms we enjoy in this land to somehow be associated with stuff and personal space (capitalism and democracy), that IS NOT a very accurate interpretation of the FREEDOM the Spirit of God brings.

The freedom that comes from the Spirit of God, first and foremost does ONE THING: it lifts the veil. And while we were still dead in our trespasses, the pall of death was lifted BY GOD to expose our lifeless and motionless face. It was the Spirit of Freedom that breathed into and upon us so that we might even live; so that we might even accept the divine invitation to live.

Not once in our entire existence have we been the engineer or the impetus of our own freedom. I understand that we have fought wars and continue to do so to this day, in the name of freedom and democracy, but that IS NOT the same as what God has done by His Spirit.

For He alone sets men free. Governments don’t. Guns don’t. Laws don’t. Lands don’t. God alone is the bearer of freedom and out of that freedom (life) comes many of the operatives we USE to ACQUIRE the external freedoms we enjoy. Don’t mistake the two as one. They are NOT the same.

When the Spirit of the Lord acts upon humanity there is a two fold purpose: First the Spirit lifts the veil so life and freedom (God) can gain access to the dead and imprisoned (us). Remember life and freedom came looking for you, not the other way around. And secondly, the Spirit lifts the veil so we, with unveiled faces can reflect the glory of God. That’s right, reflect His glory NOT OURS.

We are called to life and freedom so that we might display and declare He alone as cause and effect.

King David wrote in Psalm 51 a narrative of beautiful repentance. Like few before him, he seemed to understand the magnitude of not only his dead and imprisoned soul, but also the magnitude of God’s life and freedom being offered without merit. And the key to that holy understanding was this: TRUTH ON THE INSIDE. Neither David nor we have the ability to put that truth on the inside, but God alone.

But when that truth is placed inside something dramatic happens: LIFE and FREEDOM.

Picture in your mind a morgue. A body lays motionless on a slab with a cloth covering its face. That corps has no power or will to remove the cloth and receive life and freedom. But God is the one who lifts the cloth and begins CPR like no one else can. The body begins to get color and the face once again swells with life and emotion. A gasp of inhale is heard and eyes flutter open in wonder and amazement. LIFE has come. FREEDOM is eminent. Why? Because it is the Spirit of the Lord ALONE who is able and willing to dispatch these gifts!

Now comes our part. We get up off that slab and exit that morgue and go forth to reflect and exhale the glorious Pneuma of God. And just like David wrote in Psalm 40 verse 3b: “Many shall see and fear (revere and worship) and put their trust and confident reliance in the Lord.” (AMP) All because of what HE has done, not us.

So this Sunday, July 4th, 2010, go to church, come home, fire up the grill, eat delicious food, wave the flag, watch the fire works, celebrate our nations independence and never ever forget it’s all because of the Spirit. Not the spirit of ’76, but the Holy Spirit of God. Who by His very nature seeks out those who are dead and imprisoned so He can bring them to life and freedom.

POSTSCRIPT: Never let the veil of lies be found upon your face again. For too often, free men and women in their delight and indulge of this precious liberty, ignore their responsibility and purpose as bearers of His glory. And may the God who lifted the veil and gave you life and freedom, be ever reflected and exhaled for His namesake upon us. Amen.

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