Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17).
It was for freedom that Christ set us free… (Galatians 5:1).
So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36).
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me… to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners… (Isaiah 61:1).
I do not believe any one of us would argue over the fact that Jesus is adamant about you and I experiencing freedom and remaining in it.
That’s a no-brainer.
Surely all of the church should be able to be uniﬁed on this one idea alone.
And yet I ﬁnd so many Christians bound — not so much by sin; although, there are those in the body of Christ who still ﬁnd themselves caught in a trespass, but by their own opinion of themselves and by things like disappointment and frustration.
The reason for this is contained in what happens when a person is genuinely ‘born again.’
Prior to the new birth, our hearts had zero capacity to care about the things of God.
In fact, it was hardened and calloused through sin.
But God made a bold proclamation through a prophet named Ezekiel when He declared that He would give His people a new heart; namely, that He would remove the heart of stone and replace it with a heart of ﬂesh (Ezekiel 36:26).
With this new heart came one of the greatest miracles associated with being a new creation — the capacity to care!
Through the new and better covenant inaugurated through the blood of Jesus by which we are forgiven, adopted, made right with God, and found holy and blameless, God has written His law into our minds and onto our hearts (Hebrews 9:10).
In other words, the capacity to care and the desire to live right and pleasing and holy before God in our thoughts and motives is the byproduct of the inscription found written within us.
Sadly, what often happens when we miss the mark of our desire to do right is this: we fall apart.
We feel disqualiﬁed. We feel condemned. We feel unsure of ourselves.
As a result, we often try harder to make up for what we failed to live.
Our trying reveals that we care, but when we try in our own strength to satisfy what only grace and His Spirit can accomplish, we feel our failures all the more.
As a result, we create distance between ourselves and God because we ﬁnd it diﬃcult to be intimate with Him when we’re choosing to be intimate with what’s wrong and what has yet to change.
Trying hard is like quick sand. The more we struggle, the more we sink.
In some ways, we are trying to satisfy the new covenant through old covenant means.
When Jesus declared, “It is ﬁnished,” He not only announced that the work He had come to accomplish was over; He also proclaimed that men’s works to be righteous and holy had ceased as well.
The new covenant has nothing to do with our strength; rather, it has everything to do with His grace and the work of His Spirit in us and through us.
Our adequacy in this covenant does not come from ourselves (2 Corinthians 3:5-6). It comes from the operation of the Spirit.
I cannot ﬁnish within myself what He has promised to ﬁnish.
This is a freeing conclusion.
Through the cross, God not only sets us free of sin; He sets us free of self-eﬀort as well.
By faith we need to see that we can’t, but He can.
When we understand this, we will go low before Him. Humility will be formed within us and as a result, His grace will be toward us.
If by faith we are saved by grace then it’s by faith that we will be changed by grace.
It is absolutely wonderful and awesome that any one of us even cares to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
In all honesty, it’s an outright miracle.
Rather than fall apart at the seams when you miss the mark, rejoice that your heart is alive and that it has the capacity to care and feel!
Realize that you can’t change within yourself or give to yourself what you long to walk in and possess, but know that He can.
Let faith and humility work as a team in your life to attract the grace that’s required to overcome what needs to be overcome and to change what needs to change.
This is new covenant Christianity.
This is rest.
It has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with Him.
That’s why and how He gets the glory in the end.
- Brian Connolly, Faith Like Birds Ministries