How much do we focus on our sins and let them distract us from the freedom in Christ we have? Why do we let our sin get in the way of our relationship with God even though we have already been set free from it? How do we remain a disciple of Christ?
30 As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. 31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “ If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
We speak of freedom often in this country. Our basic principles are based in the fighting for, the establishment of and the preservation of freedom. How often do we actually stop to think, though, about what freedom actually is?
Yesterday we talked about worldly thinking and how it burdens us and inhibits our relationship with God. Today we see the punchline: in Him we are free. What exactly are we free from, though? A steadfast Christian would be quick to answer: sin. Ok, but what does that mean to the unbeliever? How do we show someone this freedom? How do we explain it in a way that others will understand.
Over the past few months I have been taking a spiritual and academic journey into the freedom that Christ offers us. I have recalled numerous conversations with close friends and family about the equation of sin. I have entertained questions regarding what is and isn’t a sin, if one sin is worse than another, and even what sins we must stop committing in order to know Christ. Some of you reading this may even be the very people I had these conversations with. God has revealed something to me: it’s not about the sin!
We get caught up in focusing on the sin that we lose sight of the whole point. It isn’t about what we do or don’t do, it isn’t about what others do or even what they have done to us. It’s about what He has done. Period. This is the truth He is speaking of in verse 32. The enemy wants us to focus on the sin because if we do, then we lose sight of God. A reoccurring story in my mind is Peter walking on water with Jesus. If we stay focused on Him, we can walk above it all. However, once we start to look around and focus on the world around us, we begin to sink. Likewise, the more we focus on the sin and the sinner, we lose more sight of God and begin to become engulfed in the sin itself.
I think verse 30 can be easily skimmed over, so I want to take a step back and reflect on it. When people hear His Word, they believe in it. Notice it’s His Word, not ours. It is up to God to make others believe, not us. I’ve spoken about this before, discussing my own attempts to convince someone to believe, only to fall short and feel inadequate. Well, that’s because I am inadequate. It isn’t up to me to convince someone, just to point the way. Once we believe, what is the next step? Jesus tells us to continue in His Word. It is our response to His simple command, “follow me.” As a follower of Jesus Christ, we abide in His Word and as a result, we are set free from the bondage and burdens of this world. This is how others will know that you are His disciple.
As we stand out in this freedom, others will notice and ask what it is that makes us different. To quote (once again) John Dickson, “live a life worth questioning and when asked, give the apt reply.”
Instead of focusing today on what we need freedom from, why don’t we just focus on the giver of the freedom? We spend so much time focused on our iniquities and sin that we blind ourselves from the truth. We don’t even seek out the truth or even ask for help like Peter did when he was drowning. Rather we become comfortable in trying to doggie paddle for the rest of our life, getting used to always struggling to keep your head above water. Instead of trying to get used to the water or even find a remedy for it, why don’t we just look elsewhere? In focusing on it, we will never get out of it. But, if we focus on Jesus, we will be able to walk above it without even trying.