Sunday January 23, 2011 | Jim Hobson
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
The story of the Exodus (see the book of Exodus) is a story of God leading His people from bondage to freedom. In this week’s sermon, Jim Hobson asks the question “If Christ has set us free, why are so many Christians still in bondage?” Jim contends that to free ourselves from bondage, we must see ourselves as God sees us.
The story of the Exodus is not an old story without any application to our lives. In fact, the Exodus is the story of all people who move from bondage to freedom through God and Jesus Christ. It is the story of a people who are slaves to the Egyptians and are miraculously set free. After being freed from the Egyptians, they are married to God through covenant. They come to the Promised Land that is given to them by God, yet they hesitate because they are afraid and see themselves as grasshoppers. God then takes them back into the desert in order to re-wire their brains.
This is story of most modern Christians. We were once in slavery to our sins and our old ways. We were miraculously freed by Jesus, and married to God through the new covenant. We are then able to freely assume our identities in Christ, our new destiny and yet we stop and see ourselves still as slaves to our sins and our old ways. Which begs the question—if Christ set us free, why are so many of us still in bondage? And what does the desert re-wiring look like for us?
While what has happened to us in our past is significant, what’s more important is how we see ourselves because of the things that have happened in the past. Abuse, bullying, failures, and bad decisions are significant happenings in our past. Yet, it’s not easy to forget the things of our past. These past actions can carry over into our present day affecting how we feel about ourselves—even in light of what God says about us.
How many of us know that God loves us? How many know that if we asked Jesus to forgive us that we are forgiven? How many of us could show someone else the scripture that says this? Yet, how many of us feel guilty over something that happened 5, 10, 15, or 20 years ago? These ideas of forgiveness and guilt don’t match up. This is because even if we know something, it doesn’t mean that we always feel it.
The truth about us is that we are holy, righteous, God’s beloved, and the temple of the Holy Spirit. The sad truth is that we don’t always live this way. If we really believed the truths that God has said about us, then why are our lives characterized by fear, stress, loneliness, feeling as if we’re not being good enough, and rejection? We live this way because we live according to what our brain tells us. If our brain isn’t re-wired to believe that which God thinks of us, then our lives won’t be re-oriented towards the way God thinks of us.
Your brain only listens to you. In order to change and re-wire your brain, you have to change the way you talk about yourself. When you think about or talk about yourself, is it to the tune of negative or positive? Do you berate yourself and tell yourself that you’re not good enough or not doing enough for God? The first step to changing your life is to change your self-talk. For when your self-talk changes to be in line with what God says about you, then your thought patterns will conform to God’s thoughts of you. And once your thought patterns have changed, you will be able to see your life through the eyes of God and change your life to take hold of the freedom that Jesus gives you.
That sure sounds easy huh? If we’re honest with ourselves, then we can see that our past, our emptiness, our hurts, and our wounds stop us from re-wiring our brain this way. One way to see ourselves the way God sees us is to see our circumstances through God and not God through our circumstances. Sometimes, when life gets us down, we see God in light of these things. When our child dies, we wonder where God was and how a loving God could let that happen. Yet, we know that God is a loving God, and to see the circumstance through God could shed healing and light on the situation. Until we allow God to heal our wounds and hurts, His love will never get from our heads to our hearts and we won’t be freed from the bondage of our past. Our healing depends on us seeing our circumstances through God.
God loves you more than you could ever know or understand. Letting that love seep into every pore of your being is the key to being freed from the bondage. Whenever your self-talk says something contrary to what God says about you, strike it down with the truth of God. You are His beloved, righteous, you have un-imaginable worth, and you are the temple of the Holy Spirit fit to hold the Spirit of God.