Podcast Ep. 8 | Living Unhindered

Podcast Ep. 8 | Living Unhindered


Welcome to the Living Strategically podcast…episode
8. We are Reed and Elizabeth Hewitt, a husband and wife team that lives in South Texas. For
our day jobs, we are Communications Consultants. And we also run Living Strategically…where
we’re all about helping you strategically pursue your God-given purpose and make the
most of your time on earth. In our current series for the Living Strategically
podcast, we have been exploring our “five pillars of Living Strategically” which include:
a biblical framework, an eternal perspective, stewardship, prophetic urgency, and our topic
of today…freedom. We see these five elements as the key to living a strategic life. We believe that wise Christians make their
days count during our short time here on earth. And not just count for anything, but count
in the ways that God has intended for our lives. Sometimes we Christians come against
obstacles that hinder our effectiveness, even hindering us from fulfilling our life’s
calling. And that’s why the topic of freedom is so important. We need to aim for living
unhindered! In the Bible, Paul told the Galatians, “It
was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again
to a yoke of slavery.” The concept of freedom and slavery is interwoven throughout the Bible.
From the time of Moses leading the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, all the
way through the New Testament where the apostles talk about freedom from spiritual slavery,
this running theme is there to help us understand our spiritual condition and why we need the
new life that God is calling us into. For example, have you ever considered how
the deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt was a foreshadowing of the plan of salvation?
Their captivity in Egypt was like a person who is lost, then they were called out of
the land. And their deliverance from the curse of death was accomplished through the blood
of a lamb on the doorposts of their homes, just like the blood of Messiah (our Passover
lamb) delivers us from eternal death. But then in the wilderness, which is like
our life after salvation but before eternity, when the Israelites were free from captivity,
there was a constant temptation to return to slavery in Egypt. Being free was difficult
in a way that was different from the hardship of slavery. As slaves, their lives were predetermined
for them. It may have been miserable, but it was familiar and predictable, and it didn’t
require faith. But God’s purpose for the Israelites required them to be free, which
meant that they had to go out into an unpredictable world and have faith that God would provide.
That pattern shows up again and again throughout Scripture. We see two basic ways that Christians today
try to leave their freedom and return to slavery. One is to be weighed down and distracted and
hindered by the cares of this world. And the other, to put it frankly, is bondage to sin. In Hebrews 12:1, we read, “Therefore, since
we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance
and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that
is set before us.” So there you have it. Encumbrances and sin. And how do we get past
these obstacles? Verse two gives the answer…by “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and
perfecter of faith”. Here are some examples of encumbrances in
our modern culture, that may not cross the line of sin, but can still keep you from living
in freedom: * the endless accumulation of possessions
* the pursuit of financial success and status * financial debt
* being distracted with screen time and social media
* being too busy * disfunction in a family or a workplace
* tolerating toxic relationships 1 Corinthians 6:12 says, “All things are
lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not
be mastered by anything.” That’s the standard we have to apply to
everything in our lives. Whenever you feel something weighing you down, or competing
with the Holy Spirit for control of your life, that’s probably something that you need
to prune back or remove entirely. Another thing to keep in mind is that stress
is a warning sign that there’s an issue that needs to dealt with, in order to restore
balance and health. Stress can serve a temporary purpose, but if stress has become a permanent
thing in your life, that’s no longer living in freedom!
That’s a good point, stress is a valuable warning sign! Now that we’ve talked about
encumbrances, let’s talk sin. We read in Acts 13:38-39, “…through Him [Jesus Christ]
forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed
from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.” In our
modern Christian vocabulary, we talk about being saved. But the Bible also uses the phrase
“to be freed” in the same way. I think that’s a powerful way of looking at salvation!
Sin is captivity. Salvation is freedom. Ironically, sin usually masquerades as freedom.
To the sinner, holiness can look very restrictive. But the test that shows that sin is really
a form of captivity is when you try and put it down. If you can’t stop doing something
that God calls sin, then that sin is controlling you. It’s slavery, not freedom. The list of sins that Satan tries to use to
entrap us could be limitless, but here are some examples:
* Emotional sins – like pride and bitterness * In our social lives – it could be gossip
or any time we chose not to love our neighbor * Physically – it could be addictions or
sexual sin or neglecting our bodies, which are the temple of the Holy Spirit
* Financially – we can become enslaved to debt, the Bible says the borrower is slave
to the lender. Also, there’s the temptation to allow money to become an idol.
* The spiritual aspect encompasses all of these sins, but there’s also a hidden danger
of embracing man-made religion, like the Pharisees, instead of the pure and liberating Gospel! This podcast is all about living strategically,
and that includes having a good defense by realizing that Satan also thinks strategically.
He will focus most of his efforts on our areas of weakness, to lead us to sin, and the Bible
tells us that sin leads to death. That death can be emotional, social, physical, financial,
as well as spiritual. We should be extra cautious in any area that we know is a personal weakness. Christians who stray into sin, to borrow the
words of Paul, “pierce themselves with many griefs”. And there is a particular danger
for Christians, because when you have been set free from something, and then go back
to it, it is much harder to get free of it again! For example, the Israelites were set
free from Egypt and they were an independent, sovereign nation for hundreds of years, but
when they strayed and eventually went into captivity again, they remained the subjects
of foreign powers for thousands of years. The Israelites had sins that they kept tolerating,
and we as Christians need to take that example and not just focus on symptoms. When we are
struggling with sin in our lives, we need permanent solutions. We don’t need a Band-Aid
fix that covers things temporarily. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we need to end
that sin completely. We need complete restoration. Turning back to living a life unhindered. We started this episode with Galatians 5:1,
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” And the entire chapter of Galatians
5 is like the handbook on freedom in the New Testament. Verse 16 gives us the secret weapon
in the battle for freedom. It says, “…walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the
desires of the flesh.” Walking by the Spirit is the key to staying
out of the enemy’s traps and it’s also the key to right living. It’s how you stay
out of disfunction and toxic relationships. It’s how you set your priorities so you
don’t drown in a schedule filled with fruitless tasks. The bottom line is when we walk by
the Spirit, it keeps us on the straight and narrow, because we see sin for what it really
is (captivity) and we see submission to God for what it really is (freedom). I’ll close with a verse from 2 Corinthians
3:17, “…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” I pray that you will
pursue things that lead to freedom in your life, so that you can live a life unhindered! Before we go, we want to mention that we’ve
put together a list of resources on the Living Strategically website that we highly recommend
and that will help you in your daily Christian walk. It’s a list of some amazing Christian
books, and these aren’t just any books. They are worth the time and money investment!
So, we encourage you to visit our website at livingstrategically.com and click on Resources
at the top. Or you can visit it directly at livingstrategically.com/resources. And we should also mention that if you want
to get in touch, you can email us at [email protected] Alright y’all, until next time…keep living
strategically!

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