12Therefore, since we have such a hope [that is, the hope of our glorious salvation], we are very bold….17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
2 Cor 3:12, 17 (NIV)

Dog Running Through Field with AbandonIn Part 1 of this series, I posed these questions: Are you bold? Do you live in freedom? After confessing that my answer wasn’t always affirmative, I introduced what I consider to be the top reason I don’t live in freedom: fear. I went on to say that an issue of fear is really an issue of faith. Fear takes many shapes, that is, we can be afraid of many things, but the shape that keeps us in more bondage than anything is the fear that we will disappoint or be rejected by God. And that, my friend, is an issue of not believing – not applying faith to John John 3:17 and 18 to the same degree that we apply it to John 3:16. When we apply faith to all three verses, a tremendous freedom comes into our lives because we know – we know – that we are not condemned by our Father, the Creator of the Universe.

Read my earlier post for the whole picture.

Today I want to delve into the subject a bit further jumping off the passage we ended with last week.

15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ,…
Romans 8:15-17a (NIV)

God has made us co-heirs with Christ. He didn’t do this because He was required to – no one was forcing Him. He didn’t do it reluctantly, He did it because He wanted to! God’s heart is to bless His children. The story of the prodigal son is perfect for illustrating the Father’s love. Jesus is the narrator of the story that is recorded in the gospel of Luke. Remember that as you read through the story. This is not Luke’s story – it is Luke’s account of the story that Jesus told.

First, a little background – a rich man had two sons. The younger son became impudent and asked for his inheritance. You have to understand that in the culture of Jesus’ time, such a request was a tremendous humiliation for the father. Despite his humiliation, the father loved his son and gave him his share of the inheritance. The son immediately left and squandered his inheritance on wine, women and song. After losing all his money, he hired himself out as a farm worker to an employer who fed his pigs better than he fed his hired hands. Scripture says that the son “came to his senses,” realized that his father’s workers had it better than he did and thought “I will go home to my father and say, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.’” Luke 15:18-19 (NLT)

So the son began his journey home. His father saw him “from afar off” Scripture says (Luke 15:20) and he ran and welcomed his son home. He threw him a lavish party to celebrate that his lost son was found. It’s a beautiful picture of how very much God loves us – He watches for us from afar. Then, when we turn toward Him, He runs toward us, throws His arms around us, puts His robe on us and His ring on our finger and throws a party. And God throws a lavish party – even the angels join in rejoicing when the lost are found.

But the story goes on. The older brother had been out in the field working and when he returned home and learned that his father was throwing a party for the younger son, he became quite angry. That’s where we pick up in Luke 15:28

28“The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him,29but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends.30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours.
Luke 15:28-31 (NLT)

What a powerful paragraph. First, notice the word the older son uses – he said that he had “slaved” for his father. He had the mindset of being in bondage or servitude to his father. Yet what was the father’s response? “Everything I have is yours.” The oldest son had access to all the father had, but he was living like a slave – not because the father required, but because the son didn’t “own” it. He didn’t live it.

Remember, Romans 8 said “we are co-heirs with Christ.” We share “ownership” of everything that is the Father’s with Christ. God has given us everything…but sometimes we live like slaves. We live in fear that our Master will disapprove of what we do…or who we are. We don’t throw a party because what will He think? We don’t run through the open door because…we might have it wrong…

We still have this fear because we haven’t gotten it into our spirit that  “Whoever believes in him is not condemned,” (John 3:18) and “there is now no condemnation” (Romans 8:1) – there is no judgment against us!

God has given us everything – it’s a loving Father who does that. It’s not a father that’s holding back, waiting for us to make a mistake. It’s not a father that doesn’t trust us.

Scripture says He loves us with an everlasting love. The word means perpetual – ongoing, non-stop, throughout all eternity.

It says He loves us with a perfect love, a complete love.

When we get that into our spirit, there is no fear of condemnation. There is no fear of a guilty sentence. Fear is replaced by rejoicing. Better yet, fear is replaced by boldness and that boldness is demonstrated in the freedom with which we live our lives.

12Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold….17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
2 Cor 3:12, 17 (NIV)

So, friends, what will it take for us to live our lives with abandon – as if someone has left the gate open? Because God has. He’s put before each of us open doors – we can ignore them, shy away from them, walk through them with trepidation and fear, or run through them excited to see what’s on the other side – excited to be apart of the adventure called walking with Christ, excited to be living the purposes for which God created us.

One thing it takes is knowing that we know that we know that He loves us. He loves me. He loves you.

  • He loves you. He loves you. He loves you. He doesn’t condemn you.
  • He has already seated you in heavenly places.
  • Christ is eagerly waiting to introduce you to His Father as His bride. He is proud of you.
  • He is on your side.
  • He loves you with a perpetual love.

Messed Up Hair and AllBelieve it. Say it out loud. In the morning, remind yourself “I am loved by the Most High God with a love that is eternal, perpetual and radical.” “He has adopted me as His child.” “I am a co-heir with Christ.” When the voice in your head begins to whisper anything negative about you or your life, repeat “I am not condemned – I am not found guilty. I am a child of the King. I am loved. I am loved. I am loved.”

Let faith rise up in you in a way that it never has before – then live like someone left the gate open. Because that someone is God and He has open doors before you just waiting for you to explore! They are doors that lead to His purposes for your life!

Let faith arise!

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