By Rev. Dr. Judy Baumgartner
In my opinion, 90% of discipleship is learning to live beyond the horrible influences of sin. Through the constant flow of forgiveness, through the ever- powerful blood of Christ, and through the sanctifying empowerment of the Holy Spirit we learn to put to death sins that once held us in great captivity. Through this continuous battle, we begin to loath all forms of wickedness.
“Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. Redeem me from the oppression of men, that I may obey your precepts.” (Psa. 119:133-134, NIV)
If we were alive during the time of Christ and we wanted to go to the temple in Jerusalem, we would be allowed to worship in the “Court of the Gentiles.” Sadly, this area had been transformed into a market. How could we pray earnestly in a place that seemed more like Walmart than a sanctuary? In His zeal for those who were oppressed, Jesus cleared this area with a whip. He is an awesome Savior!
Freedom to serve the Lord with all honesty and openness is incredible. How blessed we are to live in a time when denominational differences are fading. The depth of our love of Christ is far more important than the name on the door or the type of material that constructs the pulpit. Wickedness may be increasing; however, those who love God are becoming His committed spiritual warriors. Thankfully, lukewarm Christianity is dying.
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”” (John 4:23-24, NIV)
Like the psalmist, we want to be completely free in our relationship with the Lord. Throughout the continent of Asia there are holy men and women worshiping God with all sincerity from the uncomfortable confines of their prison cells. They may be incarcerated for their uncompromising faith, but their hearts are completely free! This is much better than being with people who proclaim God, but have hearts that are far from Him.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36, NIV)
We thank You, Lord, that we still have the freedom to worship You. Lord, may we exercise that right effectively and win many more souls for Your kingdom and glory. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen!