April 1, 2011 – Breaking Free from Our Independence
Pastor Karen Troxler
As humans, both individually and as a group, we value our freedom and defend it at almost any cost. No matter our age, we do not like anyone to tell us what to do!
The Jewish people were no different. Freedom was important to them, so much so that they prided themselves that even in the times in their history when they were under the authority of another nation (as they were to the Romans), they maintained an attitude of independence in their spirits. For that reason, they could truthfully say that they had never been slaves to anyone, because on the inside, they were free. This type of tenacity in people can be a good thing in difficult situations, and one of the means of survival, but it can also lead to stubbornness and blindness to the truth.
Just because we are not physically held captive, however, does not mean we are truly free. Most of us are held captive by something. As Jesus pointed out, when we sin, we are a slave to that sin. We can also be slave to things that are not necessarily sin. The Jews here were held captive by their family heritage. They bragged that Abraham was their father, even though they did not follow his example in matters of faith. They were held captive to their own preconceived ideas of what they thought was “truth” but refused to be open to hearing God’s truth, simply because it was expressed through Jesus.
Many of us are giving up something during Lent. The “thing” that we choose to give up often indicates a realization on our part that it holds a greater influence over us than it should. Lent is a good time to begin “breaking free” from the pull that the things of this world hold over us.
Although we will never be totally free until we leave this world behind, the more we focus on our Lord and heed His words, the more these things fade into the background.
Dear Lord, break me free from the things that hold me in bondage. Help me to listen to your voice, not just with my ears, but with my mind and my heart. May I know the truth of your words. Speak Lord, for your child is listening. In your Holy Name, I pray. Amen.