Golden showers burst over our heads as my family and I lay on a blanket, watching the brilliance of fireworks in the night sky. The bursts and sparkles were choreographed to a beautiful rendition of “God bless America.” My husband sang along softly, sending a prayer for God’s favor on our nation even as I fought a big lump in my throat. Thoughts of freedom, jubilation, and sacrifice sang through my mind and tears pricked my eyes even I whooped and hollered and celebrated.
In ancient Israel every half-century was declared a year of jubilee. Debts were forgiven, slaves were freed, and land was returned to original owners. Across the nation ram’s horn were blown and families celebrated as their children and inheritance were returned to them.
In a spiritual sense we, as Christians, have been given a constant state of jubilee. Thanks to all Christ accomplished at the Cross, we are free and forgiven–our sin debts cancelled and our inheritance established. Every day we have something to celebrate–to whoop and holler and blow our horns about.
Because of Jesus’ great sacrifice, we are invited to live as the children of God. We’re part of the family. Never rejected. Always in the presence of the Holy One. Every single day we walk in freedom from sin and eternal damnation. Every moment of our lives we are connected to the Holy Spirit who lives within us, and He empowers us to walk in our inheritance of grace and prepares us for the glory of eternity with our God.
But do we live each day as if this is true?
Several years ago I came into a new understanding of all the cross had done for me. Though I had accepted Jesus into my life at a young age, I lived a life of egg shell walking–trying desperately to do everything right and never feeling I “lived up.” A cloud of condemnation hung over me, and I was captive to self-inflicted guilt, inadequacy, and unworthiness. God’s love and grace would break through on occasion, but I would quickly snuff it out in self-rejection as I allowed the opinion of others, or my own unrealistic set of expectations to determine how I saw myself. Scripture was a hand-book to discern how to be better and a measuring stick of my failures. I was imprisoned by my need to perform well.
Through a series of events God revealed Truth to me. The walk of faith wasn’t so much about what I had achieved as it was about all Jesus had already achieved for me. Any good deed I did was filthy rags compared to the perfection of Jesus, but the Good News was He placed His righteousness over me like a brand new robe. I began to be clothed in HIS identity. I started to see myself as free to live outside the guilt–to be believe I was forgiven, treasured, bought-with-a price, and empowered to serve.
Early in this journey, after a particularly enlightening experience, I awoke to the Lord’s Voice. He said, “It is for freedom I have set you free.”
I recognized His Words as Scripture and quickly went to my Bible, hungry to know the rest of the verse. I found it in Galatians 5:1. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (NIV)
I thought about the verse and how it was so important to the LORD for me to know and remember its Truth that He actually spoke directly to me about it. I realized that the enemy would try to take away this new-found freedom. Through the words and actions of others, through my own failing and success, and through difficult circumstances, the evil one would seek to entice me back into the spiritual prison I’d locked myself it. He wanted to keep me a slave to inadequacy, failure, guilt, and performance-driven behavior.
But God’s jubilee had come! I was free to live as my Father’s beloved! I was free to believe that I was wholly accepted and wholly loved. I was free to walk without shame . . . in jubilant, beautiful freedom. This was my jubilee. Though Jesus has secured my inheritance over 2,000 years before, I finally accepted the right to live as a free woman.
This July, consider the concept of jubilee. Jesus returned to you your full inheritance as God’s child. Have you given yourself permission to be free to receive it?
(By the way, I’ll be sharing a little more about this at the More Than Conquerors Encouragement Series in Aurora on July 27th. If you’d like more information, email me: Paula@soulscents.us)
A writer, speaker, and homeschooling mother of four, Paula Moldenhauer is passionate about God’s grace and intimacy with Jesus. Her website, Soul Scents, offers devotional thoughts, and you can visit her blog at GraceReign. Paula serves as president of HIS Writers, the north Denver ACFW chapter. A devoted Pride and Prejudice fan, she loves good conversation, peppermint ice cream, and walking barefoot. Her greatest desire is to be close enough to Jesus to breathe His fragrance.
Fireworks photo taken from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7862527@N02/2520923912, The 2008 World Pyro Olympics in Manila, the Philippines.