whiteflowersandelephants


Freedom and Bedtimes
July 26, 2012, 11:23 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’ve been feeling tired. I began my new work schedule, working 8-5, and have been enjoying friend time and exercise every day after work. But, this week I have just been tired and run down. Last night I was downright cranky.

I have been keeping a personal accountability chart, keeping track of my habits and my success or failure at living up to my goals. One item on that list is to be in bed before 11pm. Another item is to be up before 6:45. Another is to spend time with Jesus in the morning, before work. I have not had more than one day a week of success in those areas. I have had tremendous success with my diet, and spending intentional time with friends, and exercising. To me, that seems like I have neglected the base of the hierarchy of needs, and I am excelling at the peak. What good is it if I make sure I am getting great time with the friends I want to love and serve, if I am not allowing the King of Heaven to love and serve me first? What good is eating well and exercising, if I am not resting my body adequately? Tired people eat what they crave, not what they planned. Tired people choose Netflix over zumba. I can build a beautiful life with my own hands, but I will not maintain it if I don’t sleep and come daily before my King. He is my goal. I never want my goal to be forming habits. Forming healthy habits are tools I can use to reach my goal.

So, this morning I got to work early and had some eye contact time with Jesus. I knew I couldn’t simply sit down and determine a course of action- because that’s what I’ve been doing. I asked Him to come in and sift through my heart, and order my days.

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to read Romans 6, and it, again, is changing my life. I did a short blog about how having order and structure is like freedom for me. And then I read something like that in Romans 6. Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. This passage rocked my world. I am a slave, and I always have been. I chose slavery. I chose slavery to this world, this country, this culture. I chose slavery to food and my body. I chose slavery to friends and TV and my own notions of morality. Choosing that slavery left me free in regard to righteousness. The bonds of righteousness were not on me. I chose other bonds. BUT THANKS BE TO GOD! I have transferred my servitude into the household of the Good Father. I am now a slave of righteousness! I belong to righteousness! My actions are dictated by righteousness! My identity is found in righteousness!

I define righteousness as the intangible way that belongs to God. He is good. He is higher than I know. He imparts His beautiful, kind, lovely, and perfect way to me. Webster defines righteousness as morality. I know morality, and it is not of God. His love is offensive, and it is unjust. He loves me, even though I am a wretched sinner. Righteousness here is higher, better, confoundingly more kind than morality ever thought about being. By comparison, morality is a wickedness.

For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification…But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.

Wow, wow, wow! Everything I gave myself to when I was a slave to impurity and lawlessness bought me the rights to death. But now, everything that I do unto God, under the bonds of righteousness, buys me the rights to eternal life and friendship with the Good King. That’s awesome, guys.

So, this morning, as I met with Jesus, I asked Him to come in and give me some rules. Romans 6 says, more powerfully than I said yesterday, that rules ARE freedom. If I am a slave to lawlessness (having my own way), I am still a slave. And that kind of slavery leads to destruction. But if I present myself to God as His slave, and come under His rule, THEN I am free. Because though we are God’s slaves, He does not call us slaves, but sons. Slavery to the Good Father is true freedom from the impurity and lawlessness that leads to death. I need laws. I need parameters. I need rules to follow and be faithful to, so that I can experience freedom with Jesus. I can be in charge and make sure I do all the things I want to do in life. But I am so fortunate to have learned at such a young age, that no matter what I chase, or do, or what good things I amass for myself, I will be left empty, wanting, and useless unless I let the Servant serve me. I must be loved by Him, or I have no love. It is worth more to come to Him as a broken sheep than it is to be king of this rock, which is passing away.

So my Master told me I’m gonna be in my bed, without a screen of any kind in my hands, but 10:00. In order to ensure that, I’m going to leave whatever social gathering or fun activity I am taking part in, by 9:45. I’m gonna get up by 6 every day. I’m going to be at work by 7, so that I can get alone time with Jesus, and not accidentally get good alone time with a roommate who I want to catch up with in the morning. This is intense. This is rules, you know? But, guys, His rules are FREEDOM! I’m going to be free from the slavery of NEEDING to be with friends every second, even if it means I’m useless at work the next day. I’m going to be free from the slavery of watching some TV show or movie past my bed time. I’m going to choose to be filled with Jesus in the morning over being filled with media in the moment! I’m going to choose to capitalize on the gift of being a morning person who doesn’t need caffeine, by narrowing my life and saying goodbye to the all-night hangouts. I am who He made me, and I don’t have to be like anyone else. I’m going to be outrageously awake and active from 6am to 1030pm, benefitting from daily relationship with my King, able to love and serve my friends in the daylight hours because of the living waters welling up from within. That’s freedom.

                Romans 6:5-23 ESV

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

                Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

                What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

                For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

               

 

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