|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Personal Responsibility”
Our Bible verse for today: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “You are free to live your best life”
In John 8:36 Jesus was explaining that those who have placed their faith in Him and who follow Him as Lord have been set free. We are set free from being a slave to sin, and we are set free from legalism.
This is important, especially as we continue to consider this issue of our personal responsibility for the things revealed to us by God in the Bible. If we aren’t careful, our understanding and application of these matters can become little more than a New Testament version of Old Testament legalism. We can replace an old system of rules and regulations with a new system of rules and regulations. But Jesus sets us free from that.
Although I’ve used this illustration many times before, it’s still the best I know of to explain the concept of freedom in Christ and therefore I’ll repeat it here. When Professor Dallas Willard’s children were young, he used to send them out to play in the fenced-in backyard. Once they were out there, they could choose for themselves if they wanted to swing on the swing set, play in the sandbox, throw a ball, sit under a tree and read a book, or any number of other activities. As long as they behaved themselves in accordance with the standards of behavior established by their father, and as long as they stayed within the boundaries of the fenced-in backyard, they were free to choose all the rest of it for themselves.
That’s the kind of freedom Jesus has given to us in life. There are Biblical boundaries we have to stay within, and there are acceptable standards of conduct we are to observe, but beyond that, we’re free to choose the details and specific activities for ourselves.
Now with that thought in mind, let’s go back and apply it to our theme of personal responsibility for the things revealed to us by God in the Bible. For instance, we have a personal responsibility for our own spiritual growth. We are to pray, read the Bible, participate in group worship, serve in ministry, etc. But there are different ways to pray – so choose the one that works best for you; there are many translations and formats of the Bible – choose one that you like; there are a lot of churches to choose from in every community – find the one that’s right for you; there are lots of ways to serve in ministry – so try different ones.
You get the idea. As a follower of Christ, that freedom of choice applies to all of life. The personal responsibilities given to us by God are general in nature, they’re guidelines and boundaries we’re to stay within. But beyond that, you get to choose.
Legalism? I think not. This is freedom – freedom to live the best life possible. So, just stay within the boundaries, follow the guidelines, and enjoy!
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