Jun 192017 1 Response

The 3 Most Freeing Words in Life

Do you remember those moments as a kid when time seemed to stand still? You were playing with your friends as you got caught in the world of make-believe. There was no stress of bills to pay, relationships to mend, deadlines to be met. Time was not watched, demands were not felt. You felt freedom.

In the midst of that freedom came safety to try new things, ease to do your best, and peace no matter the outcome.

There are moments, although rare, in which I still have those feelings. Inspiration hits and writing comes easy. A conversation turns deep and my soul feels connected with my wife. I can play a few holes of golf where I hit the ball perfectly and everything seems easy.

But most of the time, life doesn’t feel free. There are a weight of expectations, demands, deadlines, and concerns. The result is pressure.

A friend of mine once gave the pre-game speech for the Green Bay Packers before playing the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. When I asked him what he spoke about, he said he wrote a poem. I laughed. I asked how the players responded, he said, “They wept, hugged me, and then won.” I was stunned. How could a poem inspire a team? He explained the poem was about playing like you were a little boy again–when the game was fun and the point was joy rather than money, relationships rather than wins. Suddenly I understood the power of the speech. Who doesn’t want to play like a child rather than live like an adult?

Three Words

Important words often come in threes–I love you, please forgive me, chocolate chip cookies. Yet the most powerful three words of faith are often overlooked–it is finished.

As Jesus screamed these words in victory on the cross, it was a loud announcement that everything humanity needs to be made right with God have been accomplished. For us to have the peace, joy, forgiveness, and love which God provides, we do not have to do anything in return. We just have to receive. No sacrifice can earn it. No penance can deserve it. We simply recognize the gift, God has given, receive, and then we will naturally live our lives in response to it. Yes, we do good things, but they are done in response to what God has done not in hopes of gaining God’s favor.

To the extent that we believe these words, we are freed to live the lives God has planned for us. Yet when we forget or disbelieve these words, all pressure returns to us. Apart from God, it’s all on us. We have to form our identity, gain our significance, find peace, secure importance, and develop security. Yet when we trust in him, we recognize we can’t do anything of those things, but they have already been done for us.

The result is freedom. Consider the difference between the:

  • worker who thinks their whole future will be determined by the whims of fate vs. the one who trusts that the God who clothes the birds of the air will take care of them as well
  • parent who believes their child’s future is determined by the parent’s perfect actions and decisions vs. the one who trusts their child into the hands of God
  • husband/wife who believes it’s their spouse’s job to make them happy vs. the husband/wife who believes satisfaction comes from God and then is poured through them to their spouse
  • person seeking to serve others in order to earn the favor of God vs. the person seeking to serve others in response to what God has done for them
  • one looking for a relationship in order to find significance vs. the one who has significance and is searching for someone they can share themselves with

To the outsider, all these people may look the same, but the internal experience is radically different. The greatest differential is the presence of pressure. Having the weight of the world on your shoulders is a trying experience. Living in the freedom of God’s completed work through Christ is liberating.

It is finished doesn’t mean that our lives don’t matter. God has created us and given us a purpose. The words simply mean we are free to be who God created us to be without the worry or weight of added pressure. We are valuable, but we are not God. Our work has meaning, but it is not the defining factor of our lives.

More Childlike

It’s no accident that Jesus uses the image of a child regarding faith. While there are many ways an adult is more like God than a child, there are other ways in which a child is the better model of faith. A young child expects their parent to take care of most things while an adult feels the pressure to do things for themselves. When it comes to faith, we truly can trust our Heavenly Father to take care of things. We don’t have to create our own value, find our own meaning, or prove ourselves worthy. As a matter of fact, we can’t.

Instead, we have the privilege of trusting God in taking care of those things regarding value, meaning, significance, and worth. When we trust that those things are finished because of the work of Jesus, we are free to live in the value, meaning, significance, and worth he has already given to us.

Feeling pressure? Overwhelmed? Afraid? Remember…it is finished.


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