"...Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (NIV) John 8:32
Sorry, it's not the greatest picture of our dog, Duke. Truly, he is a very handsome chocolate lab! The other day I went to take Duke for a walk. The picture represents my dog's "LOVE" of being on his leash - once on, he moves his head back and forth - waiting for the long anticipated walk. We have an electric fence, so Duke never has to be on a leash, unless we go for a walk. He has total freedom of our yard, and our house (and even the couch - when we aren't home!).
As I was walking along with Duke that sunny day, I couldn't help but watch him as he walked along. I noticed that he walked slower, that he was deliberate in his steps, and although he enjoyed our time together - he was fully aware that he had a leash around his neck. I couldn't help but feel the same for us.
As persons of this Earthly world, how often do we feel like we have leashes around us? Remember that sin that weighed you down? Leash!! Remember when you were hurt by others and just couldn't let things go? Leash!! Remember when you felt you SHOULD have shared words of comfort or joy in Jesus and didn't? Leash!! These are all times in our lives when the sins we have done, the sins of what we didn't do, or the sins of others makes us feel as if we have a leash around our necks. We are unable to freely enjoy life. I know that there have been (and I am not happy to admit can still be) times in my life when I have felt this way. This leash leads us down paths of regret, unforgiving, guilt - to name just a few of the emotions. I don't know about you, but I am a very different person to myself and those around me when I have these leashes around my neck.
Yet, let us rejoice!! Our Bible passage for today is a wonderful example of the grace and mercy of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. As he shared with his disciples (and as he shares with us)...
- if we stay close to God and his teachings,
- if our faith is deep and trustworthy of the Holy One,
- if we truly believe that Jesus died for our sins, each and every one of them
...then the truth of all the things listed above will set us free. If we have faith, simple faith my friends, and know that what we read in the Bible is true, then that truth sets us free from our leashes, leashes of sin, regret, guilt, and unforgiving - just to name a few. Free to be children of God. Free to live the life that HE gave us. Free to enjoy the blessings he provides for us. Free!! All of this freedom is ours - just if we believe that Jesus is our Savior. Yes, it is that simple.
Life brings us many situations that can be difficult; choices to make, trials to endure, and paths to follow. I pray that our path may be that of following our Jesus. He, too, took a path - the path that led to Calvary so that we may be unleashed. By his walk to the cross, we can also, freely, walk to the cross with hope - hope for the freedom to live in His glory and eternal kingdom.
As for Duke and our walk? As we neared home, I took the leash off of him. He ran up the driveway and into the back yard, jumping and playing - running after squirrels and twigs. Yes, he enjoys our walks with the leash - but he loves the freedom of being unleashed. I hope you enjoy that freedom as well - nothing feels so good.
Pray with me? "Heavenly Father, we want to experience your freedom, the freedom that only comes by knowing the truth that you, Jesus, died on the cross for us. May we embrace that truth and live in the freedom of your light. In your name we pray, Amen".