Today’s Lectio Divina:
God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course. Give me insight so I can do what You tell me – my whole life one long, obedient response. Guide me down the road of Your commandments: I love traveling this freeway! Give me a bent for Your words of wisdom, and not for piling up loot. Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets, invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
Oh, I’ll guard with my life what You’ve revealed to me, guard it now, guard it ever; and I’ll stride freely through wide open spaces as I look for Your truth and Your wisdom. Psalm 119: 33-37, 44-45 (MsgB)
Ignatian Truth #5: Ignatian spirituality is all about Freedom. We are free to be our true selves, free to be all God has made us to be.
Freedom in Christ.
A real and eternal life…more and better life than I’ve ever dreamed of!
That’s the promise God has waiting for those who will choose it.
But, as it is with most good things in this world, no one can, or even should, force you or coerce you into a decision to receive such a gift. The choice is yours. The choice is mine. No one can choose this freedom for you. It’s your call. It’s your decision.
And, it certainly would not be fair of me, as long as we’re talking about making this big decision, if I failed to mention that this freedom in Christ is not free! As we said earlier in this blog, freedom is rarely free, and truth is not easily found.
The freedom we find in this life journey called Christianity comes at a very high cost to the One who created it. Jesus of Nazareth, the only begotten Son of God, laid down His personal freedoms in order to take our place on the Cross. My sinful and selfish nature lies deep within my being, and as long as I stay in complete charge of my life, I will be responsible for either cleaning up that mess or explaining someday to my Creator why I failed to do so. But, praise God, Jesus of Nazareth came down from heaven, at the opportune time, to take on my cleanup job, and if I’m humble enough to accept it, He alone will tidy up my sin-sick soul, atoning for all the wrongs I’ve committed from Day One to the present.
Hallelujah! I’m free!
Free from being stuck in my sinful nature. Free from the condemnation that comes with all that. Free from the wrongs I’ve done in the past. Free from the wrongs that have been done to me. Free from a past that demonstrates how corrupt I really can be when left to my own devices. Free from a guilty conscience that nags me regularly about cleaning up my act. Free from worry and anxiety that tells me I’ll never be good enough to be loved by others or by God. Free from living a life of fear. Free from the deep-seated anger that can swell up inside of me when things go wrong. Free from the shame of past failures and present-day goof-ups. Wow. The list of things I’m free from is nearly limitless!
Oh, wait. I forgot.
Freedom in Christ is not just freedom from things but it’s also freedom to as well. Let me explain.
I’m free to be myself. My true self. The person God made me to be. I’m free to love myself as God loves me. I’m free to love others as God loves them. I’m free to not get caught up in day-to-day problems because I have Jesus right next to me. I’m free to talk and walk with my Savior. I’m free to be the very best me I can be. I’m free to serve others, knowing I’m no longer responsible for my own life, but I’m covered in the complete provision of a God who loves me and has promised to care for me both in this life and the next. I’m free to be free. Freer than any self-help program could ever offer. I’m free to…well, the list goes on and on!
I hope by now, you’re starting to get the picture. You see, as I journey with Jesus, using the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius to guide me along the way, I’ve gained a much greater appreciation for how wide and long, how high and deep, how expansive and comprehensive this freedom in Christ really is.
Kinda reminds me of the words of Paul, as he wrote about all this to his good friends in Ephesus…
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3: 14-21 NIV)
Are you feeling the freedom yet?
I pray so.
My prayer: Jesus, I’m just starting to get the picture of how much freedom there is for me as I press in toward You. Holy Spirit, empower me to let go of my own search for freedom and lean more and more into the work of Jesus that offers me more and better life than I ever dreamed of or ever hoped for. And, may it all be for the greater glory of God. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Choosing to live in Christ, dwell in His presence, and partake of His freedom is a decision that shouldn’t be done quickly nor done because someone else is coercing me to do so. What is keeping me from making such an important decision? What obstacles need to be addressed so that this decision can be made wisely and with great discernment? Am I ready to step into more of Christ’s love today? Am I willing to lay down my controls in life in order to defer to His leadership and His leading?
How are you experiencing God as you ponder on these Ignatian truths today?
Over a period of twelve weeks (3 sessions per week), we will take this journey into Iggy’s Biggies, contemplating twelve foundational truths found within the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. We suggest you bookmark our blog series homepage to keep all the writings in one place for your future reference. Take note that each blog session begins with a short scripture reading. My suggestion is that you don’t hurry through, or skip the text, but treat it as a Lectio Divina reading where you slow down and sit a bit with God’s Word, allowing it to penetrate and influence you as you read.
If you’ve never journeyed through the Exercises, might I suggest that you find a qualified spiritual director and ask them to accompany you along the way? Here at The Contemplative Activist, we can offer a good number of highly qualified folks to do just that.
Oh, and if you enjoy what you’re reading here, we encourage you to share this page and our website, The Contemplative Activist, with your friends!
Click here to go on to the next blog/podcast in this series…
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