"THEN... you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32, words spoken by Jesus himself) I'm sure you've heard these words spoken before. We long to be free! This isn't talking about freedom as a nation, but instead as an individual...in a spiritual sense. Did you catch that tiny, enormous word though?
So small, yet its job is to conjoin two thoughts. If, then, that.
"Finish your homework, then you can go out with friends."
"First, I'll pay my bills, then I'll buy those shoes."
"Plant a garden, care for it, have patience then harvest the food."
What comes before the "then" matters. It builds the stage, the principle, upon which we base the condition of the reward. Oh, how often I want to put the cart before the horse! Don't you?
But, what did Jesus say BEFORE "...then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free"? This: "If you hold to my teaching, you are truly my disciples. THEN you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
All through John 8, Jesus is trying to tell the Pharisees, when I say I am God, believe me! I am He! This was the teaching he wanted them to grasp hold of. They were totally missing the point. He in essence was telling them, "Follow me, believe me, obey me, make me Lord of your life over all you do, and then you will be truly free!"
And in response they sneered, "Who do you think you are?!?"
Lately, I've been pondering how I could have more of Jesus in my life. Bottom line, I've decided I need to learn more about the words Master and Lord. I still battle wanting to have my way all the while expecting the blessings and freedom Jesus speaks of. Some days I sound like a Pharisee and silently grumble, "Who do you think you are? I'm my own boss! Nobody is going to tell me what to do!"
I'm realizing though, God's kingdom is full of oxymorons:
"Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it."
"So the last will be first, and the first will be last."
"For when I am weak, then I am strong."
Whatever, right? Sounds like a broken accounting, doesn't it? But I'm understanding more and more that that's exactly what God's grace in my life looks like. Trust him, and blessing pours out. So when he says, "You want freedom? Make me Master," it sounds totally backward. But it's true! I'm continually learning to live more for Him and will wholeheartedly attest to the abundant freedom in my own life thanks to my Heavenly Father's mastery over it!!! Strange but true!
If you are heavy burdened, bound up by the sin in your life, in slavery to things you think will rule you forever, like addictions, dark secrets, an ugly past, not measuring up to perfection, anything, come to Jesus! Give your life to Him, make him Master, and ironically, you will not receive slavery, but freedom! This is the beginning of knowing God's grace. If you say to yourself, "Yeah, I've done that before and it's just a bunch of heavy do's and don'ts, it's not freedom," you're absolutely right!!! Someone probably gave you the Law. The Law does not offer Life. Truly, Jesus' yoke is light, not a heavy burden. I'd beg you to read Galatians to see what He has to say about it. I have seen and experienced the difference between grace and law. One leads to life, the other to death. He is a good God and loves you and wants to give you Life! That is he came and gave His life, so that you may have Life and have it more abundantly. Another broken, but beautiful accounting from God's kingdom!
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." Galatians 5:1
"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:36
*If you want to look up the places I found these bits of truth, here they are: