I woke up this Saturday morning to a fresh blanket of snow. By mid-afternoon much of it had melted. With warmer weather moving in, I decided to take a walk with my camera.
Just a short walk down a hill and I always come to this. A rock wall and an overlook of the Missouri River. A clear view of the Missouri River is hardly possible even past the rock wall. There are railroad tracks, trains sometimes and the hillside is covered with gigantic trees with gnarly limbs sprawling across the view. During the summer, all that can be seen is green from the massive amount of leaves growing on the limbs. In the winter, I get a partial view.
I’ve always been intrigued by the twisted branches of the trees at the overlook but today my heart longed for more. So after I left the wall, I went a few houses down to a neighbor’s house. For years she has extended an open invitation to enjoy her view. Today was the first time I took her up on it without kids. She caught me sneaking into the backyard but noticed my camera and allowed me space to concentrate on my art.
The walkway to her private overlook…
She has an old gate on the edge of the bluff. It seems to beckon to me each time I go there. It calls for me to take pictures of it. So today I did.
The gate seems to be a symbol to me. A picture of what we sometimes might THINK is the obstructed view of God’s glory, truth and loving relationship with us. A view that is tainted with sin and confusion.
Some days it feels like no matter how far I go out of my way…no matter how much I pray in the morning before the day starts… there still seems to be the obstruction of sin and my confused thinking. The brain and the flesh seems to get in the way of what the true me really longs for.
But is sin and my flesh really in the way? So often I think I’m trapped in my sin or in my bad thinking patterns. So I live like I’m a slave to it. When in reality I only need to walk around it.
I am free to do that. Yet I often live like I am held captive to it. There are no trees or walls or fences keeping me from my Father in Heaven. There aren’t even any keeping me from turning away from my sin or from changing my thoughts.
The truth is…
Jesus has taken away all obstacles. Any that seem to be there…are but Satan’s lies. If we are
in Christ, the Father loves us as He loves Jesus. If we are in Christ, all of our iniquities have been laid on him.
If we are in Christ, we are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves to righteousness. We are free to live according to what we most truly are and desire based on our new identity.
Here is a wonderful illustration of our freedom in Christ from a professor at Covenant Seminary, Dr. Phil Douglass.
Before D-day on June 6, 1944 all of France was under the dominion of the Nazis. In effect they were slaves. Then, by the end of August, 1944 France was liberated by the Allies and the Nazi forces were driven out. However, there were still Nazi commandoes roaming about the French countryside shooting at the free citizens and thereby causing confusion and making some of the French people think they were still under the dominion of the Nazis when in fact they were not. The French did have to defend themselves against these attacks but they did so as free people and not as those under slavery as before. The application is that we were enslaved to the “powers” before being in Christ but when we were placed into Christ we became free, although we still have to defend ourselves against the attacks of the world, the flesh and the devil. On May 8, 1945, the War was over and the Nazi commandoes rampaged no longer. This is tantamount to the way it will be in heaven when we are set free from the attacks of the world, the flesh and the devil.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
I am so looking forward to THE day. The day that Christ returns. Until then, I am striving to remember that I am truly free even though I encounter attacks. These attacks don’t define who I most truly am in Christ. And nothing can separate me from the love of God.
Romans 8:38-39 -“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Do you struggle with living out or really believing that you have freedom in Christ? Perhaps this is the Christian life. Perhaps there is beauty in this struggle. Beauty in that you are not giving yourself over totally to sin and that you are aware and struggling with it and longing for more. Recognize the goodness in your new spiritual desires and keep stepping around the struggles toward the beautiful abundant free life in Christ.
Linking up with the following inspiring blogs this week: