God desires the best for each of His children, but sometimes we become trapped in habits, thoughts, and negative emotions that interfere with His plans for us. Today’s passage, however, shows us the way out: If we continue in God’s Word, we’ll know the truth that sets us free from whatever is holding us in bondage.
To continue in the Word means to be consistently reading and applying it to our life. Then we’ll know what God says and be able to recognize the traps that threaten to ensnare us.
What’s more, we’ll better understand the benefits that accompany our salvation and enable us to stand firm without being led astray. These benefits include our …
Position. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we’ve entered into a personal relationship with God. Now, as His children, we have ready access to His throne, along with the assurance that He’ll hear our prayers.
Provision. God gave us His Word to guide and encourage us.
Promises. By relying on the magnificent promises He has given us, we’ll “become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world” (2 Peter 1:4).
Protection. As we walk obediently with Christ, He strengthens and protects us so we won’t fall into Satan’s traps (2 Thess. 3:3).
The first step toward living in freedom is to recognize any sins, attitudes, or negative emotions that are dominating your life. Then ground yourself in the truth of Scripture and claim God’s promises and provisions by faith. He’s ready to help the moment you cry out to Him.
Bible In One Year: Psalm 120-131
Read: Romans 6:15–23
Bible in a Year: Job 28–29; Acts 13:1–25
The law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.—Romans 8:2
After being kidnapped, held hostage for thirteen days, and released, New Zealand news cameraman Olaf Wiig, with a broad smile on his face, announced, “I feel more alive now than I have in my entire life.”
For reasons difficult to understand, being freed is more exhilarating than being free.
For those who enjoy freedom every day, Olaf’s joy was a good reminder of how easily we forget how blessed we are. This is also true spiritually. Those of us who have been Christians for a long time often forget what it’s like to be held hostage by sin. We can become complacent and even ungrateful. But then God sends a reminder in the form of a new believer who gives an exuberant testimony of what God has done in his or her life, and once again we see the joy that is ours when we are “free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2).
If freedom has become boring to you, or if you tend to focus on what you can’t do, consider this: Not only are you no longer a slave to sin, but you are freed to be holy and to enjoy eternal life with Christ Jesus! (6:22).
Celebrate your freedom in Christ by taking the time to thank God for the things you are able and free to do as His servant. —Julie Ackerman Link
What are you thankful for?
Living for Christ brings true freedom.
INSIGHT: Some of the spiritual giants of the church were profoundly changed by Paul’s Spirit-inspired words in Romans. One of those was Martin Luther (1483-1546), a German theologian, writer, and reformer of the church. As a monk, Luther struggled with the impossible task of trying to be righteous on his own merits or works. The words of Romans 1:17, “The righteous will live by faith,” led Luther to realize that justification (being made holy) is through faith by God’s grace alone. God through His Word lifts the burden of sin and sets us free.Who can you share the freeing words of Romans with today? Alyson Kieda
Experts mark the absence of desire as a sign of dis-ease. I know this to be true, personally, when it comes to the desire for food. There have been times in my life when I was so upset and so distressed that I could not eat. My normal desire for preparing and eating food disappeared as more pressing concerns occupied my heart and mind. During those times, I had all means to satisfy my hunger, but no desire to do anything about it.
Of course, there are other times where out of a matter of principle, for special focus or discipline, one might routinely abstain from food. Ironically, the desire to eat becomes more pressing and more overt when one willingly chooses to forego meals. And perhaps this heightened focus on food hints at the experience of those who deal with deprivation and near-starvation. Despite not having any means to satisfy hunger, the gnawing pangs for food grow louder and louder.
The experience of hunger and its absence serves to illustrate the complicated nature of human desire—desire that is often unwieldy and seemingly beyond one’s control. Coping with our innate desires is hard enough, but then there are societal values and pressures that blur the line between genuine need and want. Regardless, desire reminds us of the deep hunger or dissatisfaction that resides at the core of our being. These longings speak of a restless hunger for something more, even when we have abundance and are seemingly well-fed.
If your brother wrongs you, go and show him his fault, between you and him privately. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. —Matthew 18:15
When Dave and I got married, I was a nightmare to get along with. I just wanted to stay in control because I thought that was the only way I could keep from being hurt. Plus I have a pretty aggressive personality to begin with, so that combined with a lot of dysfunction in my background did not make me a very nice woman.
Dave, on the other hand, is a real peace-lover and very easy to get along with. For a lot of years, he went about being happy and didn’t really say too much to me while I acted badly. I believe God gave him extra patience with me because He knew the hurt I had in my life. Sometimes God calls us to put up with some things for a while, while we are praying and waiting on Him. To be honest, if Dave had confronted me in the first month we were married I would have just left him because I didn’t know any better. So there was a purpose in God not asking him to confront me right away. But you need to confront when God tells you to.
After a few years, God showed Dave it was time to confront me. Dave explained to me, “God has dealt with me that I can no longer let you get by with talking to me the way you do and acting the way you do. You’re not going to get everything your way, and things must change.” And they did. It took time, but little by little, I changed.
I was very angry when Dave confronted me. But by then I was loved by Jesus enough and I knew enough of His Word to know that Dave was right—I knew that my behavior was wrong—but if he would have never confronted me, even though I knew that it was wrong, I don’t know if I would have ever changed. So sometimes you are not doing somebody else a favor by not confronting them. It was the right thing for Dave to do for me. And even though I didn’t like it and I got mad, Dave was right to listen to God. And we are doing the work we do today because of it.
Trust in Him: Confrontation is usually not easy for the one doing the confronting, or the one being confronted, but it is an important part of spiritual growth. Follow God’s lead and confront when He shows you it is time, and do it in love!
From the book Trusting God Day by Day by Joyce Meyer
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Though prayer has been a vital, integral part of my life since I became a Christian, I am always discovering new challenges and new facets of prayer. I find one of the most powerful, exciting and fulfilling privileges God has given to man to be that of prayer based on the authority of God’s Word.
Man instinctively prays, even if only to false gods built of sticks and stones. Whenever he is faced with tragedy, heartache, sorrow or danger, he prays.
There is a serious danger in this “ignorant” kind of praying, however. It is a well-established fact of philosophy and history that man always assimilates the moral character of the object he worships. People who have prayed to gods of blood, fire and war have become militaristic, ruthless and sadistic.
This same principle applies to the Christian, who can pray to the one true God. “As we behold His [Christ’s] face, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory.” This explains the scriptural emphasis of praying worshipfully to the only true, righteous, holy and loving God.
In spite of this potential metamorphosis, however, the lives of few Christians today are impotent and fruitless compared to those of the first century. This is because the average Christian spends so little time at the throne of grace, so little time beholding the face of our Lord. And, as a result, he does not really believe that mercy and grace are available to enable him to live a supernatural life.
Bible Reading: Hebrews 3:1-6
TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Knowing I can come boldly to the throne of grace and receive mercy, cleansing, forgiveness and help for my every need, challenge and opportunity – from my Lord Jesus Himself, our great high priest – I will spend more time in His presence and not be satisfied with an impotent, fruitless life.
Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:7-8
Will we follow the faith of our nation’s founding fathers or will we cower to the smug elites who delight in satirizing our faith in Christ? Better to become like our leaders who made America great by their goodness, great by their gumption and great by their love of country—than be shamed by those who deride religion as a sham. Our pluralistic society can experience a unified spirit with humility, respect for one another and faith in Holy God.
Our nation’s soul is experiencing a crisis of faith in God. Once a God-fearing country, we have traded our faith in the Almighty for faith in ourselves. Once a country of engaging neighbors, we have isolated our homes from human contact and snuggled up by ourselves with our phones. When we do interact with people, we talk about the nasty other people. Can we let go of the need to feel superior and instead respect those different from ourselves? The Lord’s love is long-suffering toward all, so can we give up the self-serving sport of cowardly name calling? Love is patient.
The writer of Hebrews gives us a solution to those who seek our culture’s systemic extermination of faith in God. Consider the outcomes of the lives of the faithful who went before us; faith that took the gospel of Jesus Christ all across this great land, so love of God and love of fellow man became as common as a chicken in every pot. Faith that fought for freedom at home and abroad. Faith that pioneered space exploration, railroads, interstates and air travel. Faith that survived a depression and multiple recessions. Faith that embraced religious liberty and racial equality.
Thank a soldier for your freedom. That’s how a highway sign I saw recently encouraged us to celebrate Independence Day. The sign is right: More than 1.2 million Americans have died in defense of the freedoms we cherish today. Every soldier serving our nation is someone to whom we owe more than we can pay.
But the courage America requires began before there was an America.
In preparation for Independence Day, I have been reading John B. Boles’s magnificent biography, Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty. Boles reminds us that the act which created America was high treason against the British. When delegates to the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia 241 years ago to adopt the Declaration of Independence, they knew they could pay for their patriotism with their lives.
According to Boles, “By the second week of June, [the delegates] were aware that a British flotilla of 132 ships was headed for New York City. On July 1––just before beginning to consider the final draft of the declaration––Congress learned that a squadron of fifty-three British ships had arrived off the coast of Charleston.”
When the delegates declared our nation’s independence, Britain had the strongest military in the world. Their navy dominated the world’s oceans. Most Indian tribes sided with the British, who promised to protect their tribal lands.