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Freedom in Christ: the priceless gift

By Jackie Morfesis

 


Jackie Morfesis. IMAGE COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR
 

Freedom in Christ is the priceless gift given to us by our Lord’s defeat of death and sin at Calvary. This is the greatest, most valuable, and precious gift given to us as a child of God. So unspeakably precious, that it is the very gift that the darkness both human and divine will work tirelessly and endlessly to steal from us.

            I took a ten-week course called “Freedom” at Seacoast Church in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina that focused on the freedom that we have as a child, disciple, and servant of God. It also focused on identifying, releasing, and healing all the obstacles, sins, memories, traumas and wounds that keep us from receiving and living in our complete freedom.

            At the end of the course, we participated in a two-day retreat before graduating in “Freedom.” I want to share what happened immediately following my graduation:  It was as if the legions of darkness came at my life from every angle and every corner. Let us be very clear — living in freedom is the greatest threat to the adverse powers and those who want to keep us in bondage.

I would like to focus on three scriptural passages regarding freedom in Christ, beginning with John 8:36:  “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” This is the absolute confirmation that we are free in Christ. Completely free, not partially free. Completely and utterly free.

            The second comes from 1 Corinthians 6:12:  “I have the right to do anything,” you say —but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” — but I will not be mastered by anything.” Being free in Christ does not mean we have the freedom to do all the worldly things that create bondage and imprisonment. Rather, it means that we are free to act and live in ways that reflect the Light of Christ for ourselves and others.

            Finally, Galatians 5:11:  “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.”  This speaks directly to the fact that once we have obtained freedom in Christ — the world will work nonstop to steal that freedom. Remember John 10:10  — the “Enemy comes but for to steal, and to kill and to destroy, I come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” We must guard our hearts, our eyes and our steps because the battle is real.

            How does the world around us seek to take our freedom? By disturbing our peace — something that we all struggle with daily. We are constantly overstimulated and bombarded by news, social media and our ever-present cell phones. In many ways, they have become false idols. Form new and healthy habits:  instead of waking up and checking our phone for messages or hopping on the computer to check our emails or the latest news, pray first.

            I pray before I even get out of bed and put my feet on the ground. I armor up as instructed by St. Paul before I even physically get dressed for the day. Spiritual clothing comes first.

            We must be aware as well that the forces that seek to steal our freedom and joy – are not only the adverse powers, unseen, but the very real and tangible relations we have with others who do not support our faith walk. We are to love God and love our neighbor, but we must be careful in developing emotional intimacy with those who are against and unsupportive of our spiritual life, which is in fact, our whole life.

            I have served in the prison system for decades, beginning my service in New Jersey at the recommendation of a Greek Orthodox priest who asked me to be a pen pal for a former parishioner of his parish who was incarcerated. I then volunteered for a prison reentry program in N.J. and continued my service in S.C. I also did prison education service overseas in Cyprus.

            I am sharing this in the context of speaking to being imprisoned:  rest assured that physical imprisonment is only one type of imprisonment. We may not be incarcerated, but there are countless souls walking this earth who are in emotional, mental and spiritual bondage. Many who live with chronic pain experience the bondage from constant physical distress.

            But there is hope, and that hope is Jesus. Jesus went to the cross to free all the prisoners, which includes all of us. He paid the price for our debt and for our sins in full so that we could be freed.

            Be on guard:  Never allow anyone or anything to rewound you after you have received your freedom or to deny that you have been saved. As Christians, we must be ever mindful that our words and actions serve to lift each other up, not to shame, imprison, denigrate and demoralize each other.

            Know that you are free in Christ and that eternity does not begin at our last breath — eternity with Christ begins in the very moment of our freedom in Him.

 

Jackie Morfesis is an author, advocate and creative artist. She holds a BFA in fine arts and an MA in liberal studies and is a former Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar to Greece. She is a Greek Orthodox Christian and devoted to spiritual matters.

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