I want THIS kind of freedom.
These past few days, while listening to fireworks go off all around me, I feel like I’ve been hanging out with Lady Liberty. No, not the tall one in New York Harbor—the shorter one in Luke chapter 7. She’s impressed me like never before with her bold kind of freedom.
I invite you to watch the video to hear the story, or go to Luke 7:36-50 and read it for yourself. Here’s what this incredible woman of freedom accomplished in less than 14 verses:
- She dared to go against cultural norms just for a chance to see Jesus.
- She poured out her emotions in a way that was honoring (and helpful in a practical way) to Jesus.
- She took a huge risk at being laughed at or severely rejected by everyone. Plus, there’s no way she could’ve even known how Jesus was going to respond to her.
- She freely gave what most likely was her most valuable possession, without worrying how losing it would affect her future.
- Had she asked 100 people about her idea before she actually did it, surely all 100 would’ve said it was going to be a flop–but she did it anyway.
How did she do it, and how can we experience the same kind of freedom?
Just remember the “Three Little Ps.” (No, not the three little pigs.)
PAST, PERSPECTIVE, and PERSON
#1 PAST. She didn’t let her past keep her down.
One version of the Bible calls her a “woman who lived a sinful life.” Another calls her a “certain immoral woman.” The point is, she definitely had made plenty of bad decisions in her past. She had made so many that she even had the reputation and many other people to remind her of it.
But on this particular day, when she could have sat alone, crying over each regretful choice she had made in the past, instead she was bold enough to go find Jesus and use her tears to serve and honor Him.
Notice that Jesus didn’t reject her. He in turn honored her in front of the religious people and told her to go in peace.
Action Step: Leave your past in your past. I know. I know. Easier said than done, but I try to think of it this way: If Jesus doesn’t reject me for my past sins for which I’ve repented, who do I think I am to try to make myself pay for them?
#2 PERSPECTIVE. She focused on giving to Jesus more than on getting from Him.
Was she simply trying to get something out of Jesus? I suppose it’s possible, but I highly doubt that was her highest motive. Usually when you’re trying to get more than give, you don’t bring a very costly gift like the one she showed up with. That very expensive jar of perfume could have been her dowry. If she wasn’t married, she quite possibly poured out on Jesus her only hope of ever getting married, which most women needed for their very survival in that time and culture.
I am convinced that a giving heart always lives with more courage and in more freedom than a getting heart does.
Action Step: In your prayers and actions, focus more on what Jesus has already given to you (like, His life), and on what you can give to Him and others to bring honor to Him, more than on what you still think you need to get from Him.
#3 PERSON. She pursued the person of Jesus over the teachings of Jesus.
This Lady Liberty didn’t show up at Simon’s house that day to learn a new teaching or to hear a new way of making God happy. She went there to pour out her love, her heart, and her tears on the person of Jesus.
Action Step: Focus on learning and loving the heart of Jesus way more than on following a list of rules to be a “good Christian.” Just how do you do that? Here are a few ideas:
- Focus more on worshipping Him than on becoming a good worshipper. It might sound like the same thing, but it’s drastically different. One focus is on Him—the other focus is on yourself.
- When you read God’s Word, make a list (either in a journal or in your mind) of the things Jesus likes and the things He doesn’t like. Notice how He reacted to proud religious people vs. how He reacted to those who humbly sought Him.
- Be intentional about remembering the ways He’s already shown His love to you. You can add this list to your journal or mind. My vote is for the journal. For some reason, our minds can become quite forgetful in this area, and rereading our journals—along with His Word of course—will help us walk in freedom. When we remember just how loved we are by our Savior, our fear of what others think of us just doesn’t seem so great.
There are more ways for sure to experience more freedom in Jesus. I’d love to hear some of your ideas in the comments below.
And last, as promised…. 🙂
If Luke 7’s Lady Liberty were to give you a pop quiz on your freedom in Christ today, I think it might consist of these 5 questions. I encourage you to take some time and allow the Holy Spirit to “quiz” you.
- Do you have the kind of freedom that would empower you to go against cultural norms just to get closer to Jesus?
- Do you have the kind of freedom that enables you to pour out extreme emotions of gratitude to Jesus in front of anyone? (Even if it’ll make your mascara run and your makeup smear?)
- Do you have the kind of freedom that allows you to risk being laughed at or severely rejected?
- Do you have the kind of freedom that gets you excited about giving away your most valuable possessions to honor Jesus?
- Do you have the freedom to try something that seemingly has more chances of being a big flop than a success as you aim to honor Jesus?
Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank You for sending Jesus to set us free from the power of sin. We thank You that we no longer need to be slaves to fear, but that we can walk in Your truth. Help us, dear Lord, to seek You with our whole heart and watch You wipe away our fears. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Galatians 5:1 So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. (NLT)
Ephesians 3:12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (NIV)
Romans 8:1-2 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. (NLT)
Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (NIV)