“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free”.” (John 8:31-32 NIV)
We all come to Christ in various states of brokenness carrying with us emotional baggage that has enslaved us most of our lives. We come to Christ and find that He offers forgiveness and eternal life, a perfect life that lasts forever in harmonious fellowship with him and others. One day in the future, we will be set free from all the junk that presently enslaves us.
But if that is all Jesus came to bring us, I have a problem. I want to be free now. I don’t want to carry this baggage the rest of my life. It’s too heavy! It’s hurting me and those I love. How much longer can I survive weighed down by my relationally toxic emotional baggage?
When Jesus introduced his public ministry by saying, ‘I have come to set the captives free..’ He meant much more than eternal life when we die. He meant freedom from slavery now, He intended for us to begin discovering that eternal kind of life… in this present life.
And this is how:
“If you hold to my teaching…” Jesus does not expect perfection. He does expect me to “sit at His feet”, to listen, to learn and to apply the things He is teaching me. As I walk with Christ through all of life’s experiences, He expects me to increase in knowledge, understanding and application in every aspect of my life.
“…you are really my disciples.” The essence of discipleship is found in being an eager and willing student. Life does not start and stop like the seasons. Lessons come when we least expect them. I don’t advise taking any semesters off from the Teacher. Turning back and doing life on my own is not only foolish, it’s dangerous and potentially damaging to myself and those I love.
“Then you will know the truth..” The complexity of humankind never ceases to amaze me. Just when I think I have something or someone figured out, another layer of reality seems to get peeled away revealing something previously unseen. I scratch my head and thank God for showing me more… more Truth. Truth I may never have seen on my own.
“…and the truth will set you free.” I’m a spiritual hedonist. I want the pleasures that only peace, joy and freedom can bring. I know He came to set me free, so it’s freedom I want. Why would I settle for anything less? It seems to me that settling for anything less than the fullness of His offer would minimize the price paid to deliver it.
Coming to Jesus with empty hands and open hearts takes humility, something many of his listeners lacked.
Holding to His teaching takes courage.
Discipleship is a lifelong commitment to emotional growth and personal change.
The kind of truth that sets us free, is not learned in books. It’s learned experientially in the classroom of life with Christ as our Teacher.
Jesus is the way, the Truth and the Life, and He came to set all of us Free!
(This post originally published March 18, 2010.)