Freedom Fighters

There is a key that unlocks a sustainable pace of freedom empowering us to conquer bad habits and life controlling problems. So many times we find ourselves coming to church, feeling encouraged and ready to go out standing strong only to fall back in the same frustrating patterns. There is a reason for this. We believe what we believe but we love what we love more than we believe what we believe. If we are only dealing with what we believe without ever truly allowing God to deal with what is in our hearts our minds will default to our passions.

Paul speaks of getting free then falling back into previous patterns of captivity.

Gal 5:1  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.  NIV

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free! Yes! Wait. What? It sounds good but what is it really saying? This is something we agree with and even celebrate without really understanding what it is saying. 

Jesus didn’t make you free so you could merely try to stay free. He made you free so you could become a freedom fighter helping others be free! The truth is God wants your life to be awesome. The trick is he doesn’t want you to pursue an awesome life for yourself. He wants you to provide an awesome life for others and that’s what will make your life awesome!

Immature babies are only concerned about what they want and not how it affects anybody else. A man was pushing a shopping cart through a store with a screaming, bouncing baby boy. As the man walked up and down the aisles, he kept saying over and over, "Don’t yell, Brian. Calm down, Brian. Don’t go crazy, Brian." A woman noticed what was going on and said, "You certainly are patient with little baby Brian. The man looked at her and said, "I’m Brian!"

Go to any t-ball game and you’ll see the greatest problem with immaturity isn’t the children. It’s the adults. You can be a brand new follower of Jesus and make the decisions that accelerate your growth causing you to become more spiritually mature than a person who has been following Jesus for 40 years, especially if that person has made decisions that have stunted their spiritual growth & development. This is the result of focusing more on ourselves than the sacrificial cross of Christ. 

Maybe you have believed in Jesus almost all of your life somehow you feel stagnant and don’t feel like you’re making progress. Maybe you feel like God has somehow not shown himself strong or in some way let you down not living up to what he promised to be in your life. These are real emotions and real feelings but do you believe this is God’s fault or yours?

There was a young couple just married and very in love. She always sat in the middle seat right next to him in his pickup when they went anywhere. After a few years passed this slowly changed. From the seat by the door she says, “Is it just me or does it seem we have lost our flame? We used to sit right next to each other every time we went somewhere.” To which he responded, “I’m not the one who moved.” Perhaps God isn’t the one who has moved away from you but you have moved away from God.

Gal 4:1  As long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate…

Spiritual infancy is likened to spiritual slavery. To be self-absorbed is to be spiritually immature. Taking responsibility for what God wants to entrust to your care will awaken entirely new dimensions of the things of the spirit to your life.

If you go to someone’s house and their child is up in the middle of the night needing something you put in earplugs, cover up your head with a pillow or do whatever you need to do to go back to sleep. If this is your child at your house you get up can you take care of what needs to be taken care of because intimacy leads to responsibility. People who carry a sense of responsibility live different lives. When you get near the heart of God and begin to sense his desire to transform your city you will no longer drive through that city as if it were not your child but rather you begin to take responsibility sensing compassion and expressing kindness. Everywhere you go, pray! When you are slowing down to drive through a school zone, pray! Shopping in a store, pray! There are people in that store trying to calculate numbers hoping they have enough money when they get to the register. Be touched by what touches the heart of God!

Maturity is when your love and concern for others outruns your love and concern for yourself.

Let’s love. Let’s serve. Let’s give. Let’s learn spiritual maturity together as a family as we care for the needs of others.  

Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in Rome. 25 years after his death Emperor Julian took over and decided to return the Roman Empire to paganism. He funded the construction of pagan temples and pagan worship but the culture wasn’t shifting. He wrote a letter complaining, “It is disgraceful that no Jew ever has to beg. These Galileans support not only their poor, but ours as well.” He goes on to say how difficult it will be to get control of society when Christians are so generous. Early Christians understood their role was to actively establish God’s Kingdom of love and compassion in the earth.

May we carry this revelation to our generation in wonderful and powerful ways!

GP2RL Action Point:

Purpose to make a daily difference in the lives of those within your reach this week.


DISCUSSION GUIDE FOR COMMUNITY GROUP LEADERS

Click here for a downloadable pdf file of this guide.

Research shows that it is more effective to start a good habit in the place of a bad one than it is to simply try to stop a bad habit.

DISCUSSION:

    1.    What is a common habit people try to overcome with this idea of embracing a better pattern?

SUGGESTIONS FOR THE LEADERS: If you need to help with this you can introduce some ideas like:

    •    Eating healthy in the place of unhealthy eating patterns. 

    •    Savings goals with a written budget in the place of impulse spending.

    •    Taking lunches instead of eating out.

    •    Walking every evening to adopt an exercise routine over watching television.

DISCUSSION:

    2.    As we read the following verse of Scripture consider what stands out to you?

Gal 5:1 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. NIV

The idea of freedom being the reason Jesus set us free speaks of a purpose beyond mere freedom. God’s plan isn’t to merely make you free. God’s plan is to make you a freedom fighter who helps other people get free as well.

DISCUSSION:

    3.    As we read the following verse of Scripture consider what stands out to you?

John 15:5-8 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.   Anyone who parts from me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted! My true disciples produce much fruit. This brings great glory to my Father. NIV

True disciples make disciples by simply building authentic relationships. 

DISCUSSION:

    4.    Think about your best spiritual friend. What do they do to encourage you?

Everything God wants to do in in our lives is completely relational. This speaks of our vertical relationship with God and our horizontal relationship with others. (If you have time you can introduce these final two questions)

DISCUSSION:

    5.    What are some effective ways you have purposed to connect personally with God?

    6.    What are some effective ways you have purposed to connect personally with others?

GP2RL:  Purpose to make a daily difference in the lives of those within your reach this week.