Not only will followers of Jesus be characterized by love, and dying to self, they will also be living examples of freedom and redemption. Jesus Christ came to this earth, not to bring us into greater bondage and enslavement, but to set us free, and to give us life.
Many people feel that following Jesus and obeying God is too restrictive, and that God only wants to destroy our lives and give us a list of commands and instructions to follow.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
It is sin that enslaves and destroys life. It is bondage to sin and addiction to things of this world that make us less than human. Jesus came to make us more human, more alive, and more free.
Follow Jesus into Freedom
So when followers of Jesus go out into the world to reveal Jesus to others, they must go out in a way that is compelling and beautiful. We should be the most joyful, colorful, happy, humorous, carefree, lively, and hopeful people the world has ever seen; not dour and humorless as we generally appear.
We took a liberated community of believers living in the freedom of unqualified grace and converted it into a naval-watching institution dedicated, inevitably, to the preservation of its own structure. We created a one-eyed monster whose focus would always be on the boring rules it made for yesterday instead of on the astonishing liberty with which Christ had made it free for today. In short, we locked ourselves into the past—and then had the gall to wonder why our present always seemed so dull and our future so terrifying (The Astonished Heart, 4).
Since it is for freedom that Christ has set us free, let us live fully free lives. Lives free of judgment, anger, malice, despair, hate and all such things that destroy this world and destroy our lives. If we are fully committed to following Jesus, we will soon encounter His outrageous joy and be forced to decide how to handle it.
If we follow Jesus into freedom and joy, our lives will become every bit as compelling and attractive to this world as Jesus was in His day.
The truth that makes us free is always ticking away like a time bomb in the basement of everybody’s church. And that truth isn’t a bunch of ideas. It’s Jesus. Sooner or later, if we just sit still and listen, he’ll blow the lid off any prison we’ve built (The Mystery of Christ, 140).