April 13, 2020
Free Bird, Caged Song
BRENDA BRADFORD OTTINGER
Lee en español
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 (NIV)
Dawn awakes, stretching bright limbs wide across the eastern sky. So much energy displayed for such a still moment in time.
Willing my spirit to believe in something other than the warm bed I just crawled out of, I rest in the calm of my rocker and behold this masterpiece inching its way up the horizon.
Soft light trickles onto the waking world, and I’m drawn to a beautiful melody rising on the wings of sunbeams. Quietly I watch as the prettiest redbird hops across my porch, raising her ear to the sky, singing a song only God could write.
And there, in the warm glow of a newborn day, I ponder how long it’s been since I’ve felt as free as that redbird and her merry morning song.
As someone who spent too much of her life blind to freedom, not realizing she was enough to be the woman God designed, I’m comforted by Paul’s reminder to the new Christians of Galatia: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1a).
You see, these new believers were vulnerable to false teachers who would have them follow old Jewish laws. But Paul emphatically reminded them Christ died to release them from bondage to the very chains they were choosing.
We’re not so different from those early Christians who struggled to understand their newfound liberty. Just as the concept of freedom felt unnatural to New Testament believers, it can sometimes feel foreign to us in the 21st century as well.
For years, I allowed bondage to fear, acceptance and stress to overwrite my identity, muting the melody God orchestrated for my life. This inability to understand my freedom didn’t make it less true, but it did stifle my influence for God. I was like a free bird with a caged song.
If you’re anything like me, we have to choose this freedom daily. It’s so easy to default to human understanding and set aside freedom for falsehood — returning as proverbial slaves to the cares, creeds and checklists the world would have us follow.
But we were created for purpose, and Jesus paid for our freedom to run in that purpose with His own precious life. John 8:36 tells us, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (NIV). Oh, that we’d trust the truth of a freedom Christ bartered with His own blood.
Which falsehoods have you mistakenly become slave to that keep your influence for God caged to a whisper? Are there times when you, too, need a redbird reminder to confidently embrace your freedom with graceful abandon?
Sweet friend, the world needs the ministry of our songs — anthems of purpose, written before time, uniquely for us.
So, release those shaky first notes, and be the you God created for such a time as this in your sphere of influence. For when you do, your freedom rises into worship and trickles soft light onto a waking world for Christ.
Dear God, help me keep my ear to the sky, listening for the “song” You’d have me sing. Thank You for the purpose You’ve placed on my life and for the freedom to run with grace in that purpose. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV)
Are you a writer with a “song” nestled in your spirit? Do you feel called to share that “song” with the world through words but are unsure how to take the first step? COMPEL Training has everything you need for such a time as this. Or maybe you’re not an aspiring writer, but know someone who is? Buy them a COMPEL gift certificate and they can join anytime! Find out more information by visiting www.compeltraining.com.
Connect with Brenda Bradford Ottinger on Facebook and find encouragement and Scripture-based truths to remind you of the purpose God has given you.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What “song” has God nestled inside your spirit? What step can you take today to give freedom to that purpose? Share with us in the comments section!
© 2020 by Brenda Bradford Ottinger. All rights reserved.