An important part of bringing words to life is encouraging other writers in their words. I have been inviting writers I love to write about their word of the week. This week, Jen Sandbulte joins me as my guest poster. Welcome, Jen!
free·dom — noun \ˈfrē-dəm\
: the quality or state of being free: as
: the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action
: liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another : independence
: the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous
As you read this post, I will be on an airplane en route to Phoenix. I’m traveling as a part of a team that puts feet on the ground and prays for the release of prisoners caught in the trap of #Humantrafficking at the Superbowl (and other major sporting events worldwide.)
As I reflect on my word for the week, freedom concretely sets in my mind. Merriam Webster defines freedom as liberation from slavery or restrain or from the power of another. In other words – independence.
Independence and freedom are both words that have become iconic to our American lifestyle. We take pride in our Freedom. Potentially too much pride.
My prayers this week will focus on freeing the captives of the sex slave industry. I’ll cry real tears and sit in quiet and talk to God about children and women and, yes, even some men, who are forced into a lifestyle that is beyond what I can imagine. I will pray for the many men who show up, looking to fulfill their desires, paying as little as possible, and never considering the independence of the one they use as an object.
However, as I reflect on what freedom looks like, I can’t help but think of how we as a nation need to walk into freedom again, and as Christians we need to grasp the freedom of Christ Jesus.
As a nation, while declaring our independence proudly, we have become dependent on foreign products, foreign support, and foreign policy. Liberation from the power of another seems to be something we may want to refocus on.
As Christians, we’ve become captive to the world that so easily ensnares us. We worry about the opinions of others and hide our light under a bushel basket. Christians in other countries practice their faith audaciously in a culture where the crime of following Jesus is punished by death. As a Christian in America, we go to church each Sunday and then tend to turn Jesus off for the rest of the week.
What does freedom mean to you as a Christian? If we’re honest, freedom comes through Christ Jesus. By declaring our belief in him, we are free. Free from guilt, shame, and condemnation. When Jesus died, he left behind the Holy Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:17 tells us “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Freedom.”
What if we lived out that reality?
Satan has tricked so many of us into believing the lie that we aren’t worthy. God’s forgiveness is great for everyone else, but we live in the shame of our past. We continue to condemn ourselves for yesterday, instead of walking into the fullness of today.
I’m spending my week praying for those held in the bondage of trafficking, those who are not allowed to leave or who have been mentally manipulated by individuals who have convinced them that no one will love them, that their family will disown them, that the authorities are the enemy, etc.
But our churches are full of individuals held in a different type of bondage. Individuals who are allowing insecurities to steal the freedom they have in Christ. Who do you know that is living in bondage? How can you pray for them and encourage them to break free and step into freedom? What areas in life do you need to break free from bondage in? What does “freedom” mean to you?
WORD COUNT: 568
Real Christian, Real World. Jen Sandbulte is down to earth, practical style engages women to be real in the home life, work life, and church life. Her transparency opens women up to share from their hearts. In addition to writing and speaking, Jen is president of J.S. Leadership Group, where she utilizes 20+ years of human resources leadership experience to assist organizations. She is also founder and president of Simply Grace Ministries and is a professor at Dordt College. She walks alongside hurting people at ATLAS of Sioux Center. Fifteen plus years ago, God introduced Jen to the man of her dreams. Together they pray and play with their two adult children, as well as twin tween boys and an elementary aged daughter. Prayer is at the heart of Jen, and she is passionate about praying for Human Trafficking, and leaders.
Oh, and before I forget . . . the winner of the copy of Karen Swallow Prior’s Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah MorePoet, Reformer, Abolitionist is Monica Sharman! Congratulations, Monica! I’ll be sending her the hardback copy of the book later this week.
Photos provided by Jen Sandbulte.