Free to Do it God’s Way

Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want. 1 Peter 4:1-2, MSG*

I’m not suffering right now, and I’m glad of it. But I’m also glad God is working to free me from being tyrannized by self: my will, my opinions, my perspective.

Self-focus comes naturally and we can spend our lives encouraging it, but really it’s a prison. And the jailer, self, gets harsher over time.

There’s a reason God asks us to trust Him wholeheartedly and not rely on our own limited, darkened perceptions. His way is life everlasting and we miss it by keeping to our rigid, self-imposed choices.

“Free to pursue what God wants instead of … what you want.” At first glance this looks backward. Aren’t I free when I don’t have anyone telling me what to do, when I can do my own thing?

Maybe, but… life has shown me I’m not a kind taskmaster to myself. And relationship with God has shown me that I can trust Him.

“Free to pursue what God wants….” Well, what does the Bible say He wants? Cruel dominion over all people, wars, suffering?

What did Jesus say?

God’s Spirit is on me;
he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor,
Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and
recovery of sight to the blind,
To set the burdened and battered free,
to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”
Luke 4:18-19, MSG*

He came to save us from our brokenness and to reconcile us with God. He asks us to receive what He gives and to pass it on.

Sounds more liberating than fighting with the universe to get my own way. Especially when my own way, like too much chocolate, is not a good thing.

Jesus came to set us free… sounds like the Christmas message and that of Easter. Here’s Third Day’s encouraging song, “Cry Out to Jesus”.

*The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.

4 thoughts on “Free to Do it God’s Way

  1. Belinda Burston

    I loved reading The Message version of Luke 4:18-19. At this time of the year so many can feel burdened and battered. He came to set us free–hallelujah! Thank you for a timely reminder.

    Reply
    1. joannamallory

      Belinda, I’m beginning to think this rescuing a burdened and battered people is the sort of healing that’s even deeper than any physical healing we may need, and that it’s the very core of the good news about Jesus. Salvation isn’t just knowing we go to heaven when we die — it’s Jesus, God with us, healing, restoring and teaching us to live the way He always meant us to live. Hallelujah indeed!

      Reply
  2. Margaret

    Joanna,

    How very true!….. Jesus is “Immanuel” — “God with us”….. So many have the impression that dealing with God is nothing but following a bunch of rules — an enslavement….. But, they have no clue how free we are in repentance, forgiveness, faith, and God’s love…..

    I enjoyed the message from the MSG, which I haven’t explored all that much….. Thank you.

    Margaret

    Reply
    1. joannamallory

      Hi Margaret. It’s a paradox, isn’t it — we’re so much more free if we follow God’s way. Part of what people forget is that if we’re not obeying God we’re obeying ourselves, our habits or someone else — and those are usually harsh taskmasters. God actually loves us, and His way is the optimal one for fulfilled living.

      I often find The Message has a fresh view of the Scripture. Sometimes if we hear familiar passages in fresh language, they impact us in new ways. I’m still a NIV person most of the time, though.

      Blessings today!

      Reply

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