Well, January has seen us start the New Year at pace. We have our New Year online courses for leaders up and running, we're supporting more and more churches getting back to using our resources as the pandemic (we pray) wanes, we're full steam ahead on a whole host of projects from supporting the launch of Freedom In Christ in Estonia, to re-writing all our training materials for churches. It's all very exciting, and only possible because of a marvellous team of staff and volunteers, and your continued, coveted, prayers - thank you so much.
Both our Online Freed To Lead Course For Leaders, and our 9-month TRANSFORM Programme, have reached Session 3 of Freed To Lead this week, entitled "Being and Doing". It's a great, foundational, session encouraging us to focus primarily on our Being so that our Doing is healthy - if you have a FreedomStream subscription, you can check it out here. If you don't - get yourself a free trial here and enjoy half an hour of pure gold!
Anyway, in the midst of all the "doing" we're up to at Freedom In Christ, we don't want to lose sight of that simple truth: our doing must flow from a healthy "being", rooted in Jesus. With that in mind, I found myself stopped in my tracks the other day, by a familiar scripture:
"If you love me, you will keep my commandments." (John 15:15 ESV)
I realised two things very quickly. The third took a little longer. One, I don't really like being told what to do. And two, that's not the point here. Jesus isn't using emotional blackmail to try and get me to do what He wants. He's simply stating the truth: Love me, and you will obey me. If my being is rooted in my love for Jesus, and His love for me, my doing will be (super)naturally great - full of good fruit and obedience. How awesome is that!
But even as I enjoyed this revelation, there was something else niggling me. Maybe I'd had a tough morning, but I saw an opportunity to encourage a bit of obedience in my three, let's say "independently spirited", children. Could I bolster my fragile authority as a Dad by appealing to their love for me? I thought it was worth a go... So I asked them: "When I tell you do something, why do you obey me?"
Of course, I was hoping for a chorus of "Because we love you Daddy!" Needless to say, it didn't quite pan out like that. Their answers ranged from looking at me quizzically to "Well, we don't really obey you that much do we?" to "'Cause if I don't, I don't get any screentime." At least they're honest. And they do love me, I know that. It just doesn't manifest in them obeying my commands that often.
And that was the third thing I (slowly) realised. I thought my obedience was all about me and what I do - or about my children and what they do. But it's not, it's all about Jesus, and what He has done. We love only because He first loved us (1 Jn. 4:19). He makes it possible for our being to be so good, that our doing reflects all his commandments. We can't do any of it on our own , we can only do it through Jesus who strengthens us. I find that so amazingly freeing - and my prayer, as we enter February, is that we embrace it more and more.
Rob Davies, Freedom In Christ UK Exec. Director