Much can enslave or hold us in harmful habits. Fear, shame, guilt, depression, debt, tunnel vision, and addiction are among the many grim ‘slave drivers’, which can seriously limit our life and living. God made us free to choose whether or not to believe and trust in Him, and largely we humans choose to deny and distrust our Maker. We may feel justified in such disbelief due to hard experience. But imagine for a moment that there is a God who cares for you, what might you see through His eyes? A beloved child, in need of hope, comfort, courage and direction? In our huff & hurt do we turn from possible healing and wholeness in God?

There is no such thing as ‘Complete Freedom’. To live you’re not free to stop breathing! To excel at anything we must limit freedoms to focus on that activity. Athletes preparing for the Tokyo Olympics are limiting their diet and daily routine to be free and fit to compete well.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free”, writes St Paul (Galatians 5:1). What does this freedom look like? The glorious Good News of Christ’s ‘birth, life, death, resurrection, and anticipated return’ declares death, and all slave drivers cited above, dead and buried in Jesus’ grave. Jesus rises to release us from our shackles and coach us, if we’ll let him. He offers us ‘Freedom’, a fresh start, spiritual desire and power for ‘Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, & Self Control’. This is the freedom I pray for you and I. It’s a freedom that comes from letting Jesus be Boss, King, Lord, Coach, Captain, Director, God and Leader of our Lives.

At the weekend, Stephen H returned to Irvine after 15 months in ‘Reach Out Ministries’ rehab centre, Hartlepool. For decades, a slave to the next fix, he’d rob your last pound to satisfy his craving. Yesterday a nervous Stephen stood shaking before nearly 200 people (and more on the livestream) determined to thank church, Teen Challenge, Grub n Gospel, Care & Share, particular people and especially Jesus Christ for their help. He is delivered from a self-centred road to destruction into the loving, caring, servant-hearted, community orientated Son of God he knows himself to be. There were tears in my eyes as Stephen shared about the new disciplines of reading The Bible, praying, fellowship and service, which Jesus is training him in. At Friday night’s Grub n Gospel Stephen was even more nervous sharing with the crowd, because it included some of his Irvine addict friends from BC (Before Christ). We pray on for Stephen and others who shared with us yesterday as they ‘walk the narrow path that leads to freedom’ as beloved Sons of God.

Jesus said, “I tell you most solemnly that anyone who chooses a life of sin is trapped in a dead-end life and is, in fact, a slave. A slave is a transient, who can’t come and go at will. The Son, though, has an established position, the run of the house. So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through. (John 8:34-36 / MSG)