January 17-18, 2009
FREE TO CHOOSE FREEDOM
by Charles R. Swindoll
I wish I could guarantee all of us full freedom from sin 365 days a year, but that is not possible---not so long as we are earthbound. Perpetual sinlessness (theologians call it "sinless perfection") will not be ours to enjoy until we are given glorified bodies and we are at home in heaven. But the good news is that we don't have to sin on a constant, day-after-day basis. Grace has freed us to obey Christ.
But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (Romans 6:17--18)
Wonderful, wonderful truth! Choosing righteousness, we enjoy a lifestyle marked by God's blessings, stability, and strength. Grace frees us to choose. We can decide to walk with God and draw strength from Him to face whatever life throws at us. Or we can decide to walk away from God and face the inescapable consequences. The next time you are tempted to yield to your old master, remember this: Grace invites you to return and find forgiveness, but it doesn't automatically erase the scars that accompany sin; some could stay with you for life.
In spite of the terrible consequences sins may bring, grace also means we allow others the freedom to choose, regardless. To do otherwise abuses as much as those who use their freedom as a license to sin. I am a firm believer in mutual accountability, but grace means I will not force or manipulate or judge or attempt to control you, nor should you do those things to me. It means we will keep on helping others to freedom by providing breathing holes. It means we deliberately let go so each of us can grow and learn on our own; otherwise, we shall never enjoy the liberty of an open sea. For most of us, letting others go is neither natural nor easy. Because we care, it is more our tendency to give people hints or advice. The thought of letting them fail or fall is extremely painful to us, but God treats us like that virtually every day of our lives. We tend to clutch, not release . . . to put people in our frame and not allow them any breathing holes unless and until they accept the shape of our molds.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.