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Becoming a Woman of Freedom

(ePUB - 2014)
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Overview

Is your Christian life weighing you down? Get your second wind to identify and lay aside those burdens that make you feel stuck in busyness.
With challenging insights and thought-provoking quotations from classic thinkers and writers, Navigator author and Bible teacher Cynthia Heald will help you develop the actions and attitudes you need to think differently about your self-worth and identity in Christ.
- Personal study between meetings
- 11 sessions

Details

  • SKU: 9781617472183
  • SKU10: 1617472182
  • Title: Becoming a Woman of Freedom
  • Publisher: NavPress
  • Release Date: Feb 27, 2014
  • Edition: #1
  • Pages: 112
  • Category: STUDY GUIDE
  • Subject: Christian Life - Women's Issues
NOTE: Related content on this page may not be applicable to all formats of this product.

Chapter Excerpt


Chapter One

Laying Aside Hindrances: running with freedom

* * *

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

Man's perennial efforts to take himself in hand, however he attempts it, lead to the greatest bondage in which man misses what he was meant to be. Man's true freedom does not consist of the unfettered power to direct his life, either in a political or in a Stoic sense. It lies in life with God, lived as it was originally intended by God for man. He only gains this as he denies himself. Paradoxically, the free man does not belong to himself. He belongs to him who has set him free. J. Blunck

In literature and in Scripture, life is depicted as a race. How we choose to run the race determines our quality of life, and whom or what we choose to run toward determines our peace and joy.

All of us begin the race with a handicap - an inherited sin nature that subtly binds us and weighs us down so that the race can become strenuous and futile. God, in His great love, unbinds us, frees us from our handicap, and gives us a new nature purchased by the death of His Son.

As we admit our inadequacy to run the race alone and accept God's gracious redemption, then the race begins to have meaning, validity, and most of all, freedom. It has been observed that "none are free indeed but those whom Christ makes free." We are free in Christ, but we must be aware that we often run the race with unnecessary baggage that can hinder our freedom. What is this freedom that Christ has made possible, and what can hinder us from living in freedom?

Laying Aside Hindrances

We are told in Hebrews 12 to lay aside the encumbrances, or the weights or hindrances, that keep us from running or progressing in our spiritual lives. Hannah Whitall Smith describes burdens as "everything that troubles us, whether spiritual or temporal."

G. Campbell Morgan comments, "Anything which has the remotest chance of interfering with our fellowship is to put away, to be kept away."

1. Look up the following words in a dictionary, and then write down a definition for each term:

a. Freedom

b. Slavery

c. Hindrance

Every weight, that is, all inordinate affection and concern for the body, and the present life and world. Inordinate care for the present life, or fondness for it, is a dead weight upon the soul, that pulls it down when it should ascend upwards, and pulls it back when it should press forward; it makes duty and difficulties harder and heavier than they would be. Matthew Henry

2. In his letter to the Romans, Paul describes the death of our old life and the gift of new life in Christ. Read Romans 6:1-14.

a. How is our freedom accomplished?

b. What choices are now ours?

3. What hindrances do you especially struggle with that keep you from experiencing freedom in Christ?

Running with Freedom

4. God has delivered us from the law of sin and death and from the tyranny of self. What does Paul teach in Romans 6:15-23 about the freedom God gives us and our part in experiencing that freedom? Write your responses in the appropriate columns.

Once we've tasted being alive, we can't go back to being dead. Aliveness in God is addictive. Nancy Groom

Fixing Our Eyes on Jesus

Jesus exemplified freedom all of His life. He never allowed anyone or anything to hinder His accomplishing the will of His Father. Sure of His identity and mission, He lived, ministered, and served confidently and securely.

5. Read Jesus' important proclamation in John 8:31-32. What do you think He means by "the truth," and in what sense does it set us free?

But what is the nature of our freedom? It is not release from all restraint. It is not license to indulge our sinful nature. Our freedom is the freedom to "serve one another in love." It is possible to do so, because the Holy Spirit enables us to act in ways that are contrary to the natural impulses of our sinful nature. Walking by the Spirit, we are released from the old master that produces hatred, jealousy, fits of rage, envy, and such. We are released to be loving, patient, kind, faithful and good. Lawrence O. Richards

AUTHOR'S REFLECTION - I have heard of slaves who were given freedom by the Emancipation Proclamation who still chose to live in slavery. For them, freedom was a frightening unknown. I think of the Israelites who were freed from their slavery in Egypt, yet longed for the food they received while in captivity. They were willing to become slaves again just to satisfy their appetite.

Freedom can be overwhelming, and it may seem that we are really sacrificing the "good life" to be set free by Christ. To truly understand the weight of sin and self is to begin to grasp the preciousness of our freedom in Christ. This understanding is a continuing process for me. I give up my freedom when I insist on being in control, demanding my own happiness, and building walls of protection. All of these behaviors seem right and feel comfortable, but they ultimately become heavy burdens.

God clearly calls us to "give up" this cumbersome, defeating "old self." I think more than anything this means grasping the truth that I have the power to lay aside these encumbrances. I don't have to be a slave to sin, to myself, or to others in order to feel good about who I am. I don't have to have the world tell me what will make me happy. True freedom is realizing that apart from Christ, I am not free. If I really want to experience this "addictive aliveness," then I will throw off everything that hinders me from being truly alive. It is the only way to run.

Most Christians are like a man who was toiling along the road, bending under a heavy burden, when a wagon overtook him and the driver kindly offered to help him on his journey. He joyfully accepted the offer but when seated in the wagon, continued to bend beneath his burden, which he still kept on his shoulders. "Why do you not lay down your burden?" asked the kind-hearted driver. "Oh!" replied the man, "I feel that it is almost too much to ask you to carry me, and I could not think of letting you carry my burden too." And so Christians, who have given themselves into the care and keeping of the Lord Jesus still continue to bend beneath the weight of their burdens, and often go weary and heavy-laden throughout the whole length of their journey. Hannah Whitall Smith

YOUR REFLECTION - In journal form or as a prayer to the Lord, write down your thoughts in response to these two questions: In what areas do you long to be free? How would your life be different if you were able to experience God's freedom in these areas?

SUGGESTED SCRIPTURE MEMORY - Hebrews 12:1

(Continues.)

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