The Most Beautiful of Words

"On a Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, 'Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.' Then He put His hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God." (Luke 13:10-13)

Eighteen years of infirmity.
One moment of freedom.

The second I heard this message in Church last Monday night, tears came to my eyes. All I could think about was a dear friend of mine who, as an 18-year-old, suffers one of the greatest infirmities of them all: an eating disorder. Throughout high school, this friend and I grew extremely close, and often she would ask me for advice in her situation. I remember crying in frustration every time she confided in me and claimed that she wasn't "worthy" of food and didn't "deserve" to live a full life. I never knew how to respond, leaving me constantly feeling like a failure of a friend.

Many nights I would cry myself to sleep, wondering if my best friend would be alive the next day. When she didn't answer my texts or phone calls, I immediately assumed something was wrong. Yet something always seemed wrong. No matter the month, day, or time, every second seemed like a battle for her. It was almost as if she was constantly in chains, constantly carrying her own personal prison with her.

Many of you know that everyday I wear a key necklace to symbolize that God is the only key that can set us free from our chains. To me, the word "freedom" is the most beautiful of words. We all desire freedom. My friend desires freedom from her eating disorder. My other friend in rehab desires freedom from his drug addiction. I desire for three of my family members to be free of their atheism and believe in the love Jesus. Just as we all desire freedom, we all DESERVE freedom as well.

As you're reading these words, I want you to imagine Jesus saying this to you:
"I know exactly what you are going through. I have been with you every single step of the way. When you were born, I was there. When you learned how to walk, I was holding your hand. When you said your first words, I gave you the words to say. And today, whatever battle you are facing, I am fighting for you. My love for you is your sword and your shield. You may not realize it yet, but I am all you will ever need. I will fight for you; you only need to be still. (Exodus 14:14)"

What we must realize is that in the battlefield of life, we are not the soldiers. Jesus is fighting for us. He is our strength, our sword, our shield. All we are required to do is praise His holy name, to love Him, to serve Him, to do His will. He does not expect us to win the battles that wage war against the soul. Through His cross and resurrection, He has already won. He does not expect us to free ourselves from our chains. Through His cross and resurrection, He has already freed us.

I want you to take a moment to do something for me. Whisper these words to yourself, slowly and carefully, thinking about each one: "Today is a new day. This moment is brand new. I am a new creation. Because I am bringing my worries, my fears, and my battles to Christ, He is fighting for me. I may be in chains right now, but I have HOPE because I know that Christ has already set me free. Because of Christ, the victory has already been won. I rejoice in His love and His mercy because without Him, I am nothing. When He looks at me, He is overcome with awe because He loves me so much. In Jesus' eyes, I am loved, I am worthy, and I am deserving of every good thing this life has to offer. Yet I know that the best thing this life has to offer is a life with Jesus. God cannot give me a happiness and peace apart from Him because it is not there. There is no such thing (C.S. Lewis). Jesus, You are my happiness and my peace - my everything. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. (Psalm 23)"

If you're looking for a sign to turn your life around, this is it.

"The Stand" by Hillsong United
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAQ61KH7qRc

We stand in awe of the One who gave it all.

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