I've been studying again about the "power of the Cross". In particular, what's really getting my attention again is what Jesus died for and the reasons He came and emptied Himself freely (Philippians 2), showing us what it looks like to live completely dependent and surrendered to the Father. Then Him going to the Cross in order that we didn't have to? It's truly amazing to know the curses we were once under and the freedom that we now are free to experience. There's nothing like freedom.
One thing that baffles me is: why is it that so much of the Church today still lives in slavery? I mean, the whole mission He is on is to free those in captivity (see Isaiah 61:1). He's on the mission of freedom! So why is it since Jesus paid such a heavy price, do so many not take the freedom that's offered to them? Why would we in any way want anything other than full freedom?
A few months ago the Lord said to me, "Slavery is slavery. Whether it be in the world or in the Church, slavery is still slavery." I think I may understand what He was saying to me. When we get saved many of us have had bondages (we once gave ourselves to) broken off of us and we've truly experienced a freedom like no other. Yet then, we get in the Church to find ourselves in different bondages. The bondages, of course, may not be drugs or alcohol or porn, but the bondages of tradition or religion, or those things that seem "acceptable bondages" in the Church, such as overeating and gossip. There are many bondages that, for whatever reason, we have accepted in Church.
We're Not to Live Enslaved or Mastered by Anything But Him
Jesus didn't die so we would live in any kind of bondage. It's that simple. We are not to live enslaved or mastered by anything but Him. Bondage does so many things to us that hinder us from the fullness of what Christ has for us, and bondage is one of the many things that can steal our affections.
Remember: "Slavery is still slavery." As the Church we are called to take people into freedom. Remember the great mission that Christ invited us into? We're called to show people another way—and it's a way of freedom. In order to take others into freedom, the real power comes when we ourselves are free first.
Many people identify with our weaknesses, even more than our strengths, if we can just be honest about the things we struggle with—those things our enemy tries to distract and occupy our minds with. To truly walk in freedom from judgment and freedom from "acceptable" bondages and those things that turn the world off to us and be true to what Christ has indeed done—is the "power of the message" in our lives walked out. The strongest message ever said is a life truly surrendered. It was William Booth (Salvation Army) that said, "The greatness of a man's power is the measure of his surrender."
I believe we're in a time where the Church's greatest message is one of freedom. Instead of judging, we must see beyond the sin and see the person. We must offer them another option: the option of walking in freedom.
Are You Walking in the Freedom that Jesus Paid Such a Heavy Price For?
One question I am asking myself again, "For all Christ died for on my behalf, is He getting everything from my life that shows my gratitude?"
Are you walking in the freedom that Jesus paid such a heavy price for? I know if I forget what Christ has done, it wouldn't be hard to find myself in old mindsets and old ways of doing things. Once again, let's remember what this freedom really looks like. Let's remember what Jesus has done on our behalf. And let's remember the "high call" of taking others into this freedom as well. I believe that when we do this, Jesus is receiving from our lives the high price for which He paid for us.
Senior Pastor, Yorba Linda Vineyard
About Christy Wimber: Christy has been a part of the Vineyard Movement since it started. She worked at Vineyard Ministries International and Vineyard Music as the Director for Worship Conferences and Training until 2001. Christy has released several materials containing John Wimber's teachings and writings during his thirty-year ministry. She has spent the last several years setting up a "Wimber" library at Regent University in Virginia, as well as one at Bethel Church in Redding, California, to be offered in the future.
For 21 years Christy has traveled around the world teaching on the Kingdom of God at various conferences and retreats. In 2006 Christy and her husband, Sean, began the Yorba Linda Vineyard church in which Christy is the Senior Pastor. She and Sean have been married for 20 years, and have two children: Camie Rose and John Richard II. They reside in Yorba Linda, California.