Embrace Freedom by Lt. Amanda Keene
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
I can remember sitting in a small cubicle, behind a cloth separating the priest and myself. Confession – the time of the month that I dreaded from 3rd grade until the age of 21. I remember sitting down with a list I had written down on a piece of paper because I didn’t want to forget one of my sins and have to come back the next day. I list them off to the priest, full of shame and hoping the priest didn’t know it was me. Then he’d give me “penance” to do – a Hail Mary, say the rosary once, do something to help my neighbor…the list of ways to make up for my sin could go on forever. It’s been about 8 years since my last confession, since I attended that church, yet I still wonder if my mind and heart sometimes cling to this way of thinking.
God is asking me to embrace a life of freedom. The truth that God’s love for me isn’t based on my actions, my thoughts, my appearance or anything having to do with me is a truth that is sometimes hard to believe. BUT it is refreshing to my whole being whenever I remember that and choose to live in that love. I have found myself time and time again, trying to manage my sin. I recognize sin in my life, beat myself up for it, ask for forgiveness, and then, in a sense, try to live by the law. I cut this out, or that, or deprive myself of this, or only let that into my life…I heard a speaker talk about this “pendulum swing” from living in sin to living under the law. Paul says we are free from sin AND the law! God is inviting me out of this and into a life where the Holy Spirit is leading me and maturing me in my faith – manifesting fruit in my life. I’m learning to embrace this freedom, learning to trust that God is maturing me and growing me in His way and in His time, and learning that truly, I cannot manage my own sin or earn God’s grace. He gives it freely and unconditionally. What an amazing God we serve.
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