If the Son sets you free

Read blog post by Lead Pastor Matt Adair:

I am impatient.

I’m actually impatient about a lot of things - this explains why I’m useless at home repair - but right now I’m impatient with God. It’s not the first time that I’ve felt this way so my failure to wait on God is barely newsworthy. But this time it has to do with you, so you should probably be in the loop on this one.

The world we’ve been adopted into - the kingdom of God - is a world of freedom and joy. If you don’t believe me, look at the beginning of Paul’s letters to the first century church and notice how often in the first few sentences that he includes some pronouncement of ‘grace and peace’ to family members living in cities around the Mediterranean Sea.

Freedom and joy is what we experience in a world marked by grace and peace. Broadly speaking, this is a freedom from guilt and shame and a joy that is sparked by the love God has for us. Specifically, our enjoyment of God is the natural response we have to the freedom God has given us - and others - because of the work of Jesus in his life and death.

I want you to feel free and happy. And while there are some who want to separate joy and happiness, the Bible is indiscriminate in the language it uses to describe what we experience when we feel like we’re free. But the truth is, I believe we’re in a season of struggling with freedom. Some of us feel the weightiness of our brokenness while others endure the hardships of life as bitter discipline from the hand of God. I watch your faces while I preach and I hear your stories. And in the end, I’m not sure you really believe you’re free. I know it’s an ongoing struggle for me - so I want to remind you of something.

God loves you. If you never get better or if your circumstances never change, he’ll never love you any less. Now it will probably encourage you to know that you will get better (Philippians 1:6) and that the dark clouds of your today will give way to the sunshine of his love. Now you might not notice any improvement immediately and hurts will linger for extended seasons, but look back over your doubts and sorrows from five years ago and remember how God has met you in the past. Look for reminders of God’s love for his people as we read through the Scriptures (check out Psalm 136 as an example).

And it’s here where I find myself growing increasingly impatient with God. Because our struggle to live free and the inherent challenges of finding joy when life enslaves us weighs heavy on my heart as one of your pastors. I want you to feel - not just know - that you are free. I want a rugged happiness that weathers the storms of life.

But it’s not like freedom and happiness are things we can create and control. We are almost completely helpless when it comes to creating and controlling our emotions. And that’s why I’m not impatient with you and why I’m growing less impatient with myself. It’s not that I don’t want us to change but I simply have no confidence in our ability to change ourselves. I believe that God created us to be happy and free; and our only hope in experiencing that reality is a powerful work of God in us and through us as we encourage each other.

So my impatience today lies with him. And I’m not alone - all of the elders are burdened in this way for you and for ourselves. It showed up when we were together on Monday night, our hearts strained for you and asking God to convince you that he loves you in a rather clear and present way. Now. Today.

So, Father, would you show yourself to be a generous father who loves to give good gifts to his children as you clear the fog of our present circumstances or give a freedom and happiness that shines brightly through the dark clouds that surround us.

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