I have a burning desire to know truth. Jesus Christ said that the truth would set us free. This tells us that knowing truth brings freedom. What is freedom like? How can we find this truth and this freedom?
Freedom is an experience that brings joy, light and color into our lives. When you experience being trapped or shut down you are not experiencing freedom. Again, Christ came to point to truth. He even said that He was the truth, the life and the way. He also said to the people He met, “follow me”. As Richard Rohr also has pointed out in his books, Jesus didn’t focus on Him being someone to be praised or worshiped, but rather said, “follow me, take up your cross, deny yourself and follow me”.
Jesus Christ proclaimed in the synagogue that He had come to set the captives free. The gospel is a lot about dying to self (the false self) and about freedom from our ego. A freedom I believe is something we can grow into. A dying to yourself, a dying from you own ego, is painful and creates suffering. But as someone wise started saying, “no pain, no gain!”. Or in Richard Rohr’s words (in his book “Falling Upward”), this is a “necessary suffering” and a prerequisite for growing into a deeper spiritual freedom and a closer relationship with God.
We need to turn away from our own ego, our own selfcenteredness (the false self) and reach within to find the living water ever flowing from our innermost being. Also when we see our own (ego’s) sinfulness, we need to look to Jesus as many others before us (read Hebrews), and follow Him.
Sometimes it’s the egos and sinfulness of others that brings us suffering and sadness, other times it is our own shadows and darkness that drags us down. Either way this may create a sorrow that may help us reach out and reach within for the Spirit of God. A Holy Spirit that even helps us when we don’t know what and how to pray. The Spirit that was promised to guide us by Christ Himself, and a Spirit that will help us grow into the knowledge of the truth. The Truth that has always been true. In Rohr’s words, “What is true, has always been true”.
Again, growing can be painful. Yes, the Romans tells us that the whole creation groans and longs for redemption. The suffering that is part of the necessary suffering gives us new eyes so we can see and know truth. This seeing brings light to our soul. Jesus talked about this seeing that would bring light. Seeing brings light, light creates the experience of freedom. Sometimes you can literally see it in people’s eyes when they have grown into this freedom and joy.
Paul talks about freedom in his letter to the churches in Galatia. He warns them about trusting in anything else than God’s grace. God’s grace is free, but before we are able to truly appreciate and receive God’s grace we may have to walk through valleys of darkness and suffering. But as we say in a Norwegian saying, “when you walking uphill, that is when life is going upwards”. It is this Rohr also talks about in his wise book “Falling Upward”. I think we can say with Rohr that we have to fall and experience our sin and lacking before we can really rise again.
Be reminded again, that Christ came to bring truth and life, a truth that would set us free. This freedom that you can grow into brings joy, even amidst the continuation of some suffering throughout our lives (read about Paul and the torn in his flesh). A freedom that by the grace of God and by time brings forth all the fruits of the Spirit, that Paul speaks about, joy, peace, patience and more. What a freedom!
Are you longing to grow with God, to grow into His freedom? Maybe you are experiencing a time of suffering? Trust in God’s grace and His Spirit within you, and know that He will guide you through the suffering. Eventually when your eyes are opened you will know Him and the Truth that will set you free!
Recommendation: A book that I recommend and that has truly inspired me and helped me grow into freedom is Richard Rohr’s book, “Falling Upward”. So in a way this post could partly also be a kind of book review.