Visit Pastor Emeritus Rev. Dr. Michael Carr’s new website to find out more about his new book, writing and staying in touch.
People who live in the West believe they have much more freedom than previous generations and this is reflected in their lifestyles and views. Young people tend to grow up thinking they must throw off the restraints of the past their parents lived with. History gives the impression that the next generation thinks it knows better than the previous one, believing that, somehow, they have gained more understanding.
Perhaps they would describe this as freedom, but it is a misunderstanding to think that freedom means doing whatever they choose to do. Whether a person acknowledges it or not, the fact is that everyone is controlled by something or someone. It may be control by circumstances or situations beyond their control. Many elements influence us. I wonder who or what is controlling you, because this must be a major factor in your life. It can make or break, drive, restrict and direct, or if it is a good and godly influence, cause you to achieve the best.
From an eternal perspective, you were designed by God to be free. Real freedom is something that only our Maker can produce in a person. Although we were designed for freedom, the Bible says that we lost our real freedom when sin entered the world through one man, Adam. This first human being failed to maintain his God-given freedom by making wrong choices. He chose to disregard his greatest relationship, breaking God’s command in the illusion it would bring him greater freedom.
The consequences were the opposite of what he expected. Instead of being free he became a slave. The Bible says that a person without God is a sinner and that their sin chains them. They become a prisoner to their sinful nature and ways. How deceptive it is that man or woman think they can move to more freedom by throwing off restraint and live with the ‘if it feels good do it’ mentality! Sometimes our society and law calls this ‘human rights’.
While there are good elements to our human rights laws, there are also dangers. If these laws are opposed to God’s laws our demands for our rights will bind rather than set free. It is not easy for people to understand this, especially when some forms of religion remove freedom with a set of rules that are unattainable for a person without a relationship with God. God our Creator does not offer us religious rules; instead he offers a relationship with himself that totally sets us free from the law of sin and death.
God himself has provided away for us to be set free again by providing another Adam. This second and last Adam succeeded where the first Adam failed. I mean Jesus, the Son of God who willingly came to pay the price for our sin through his death upon the cross. He paid our debt in full and can set us free to live a brand-new life in the freedom God originally intended for humanity. This freedom enables us to do what is right in God’s sight. He gives us a new opportunity and fills our hearts with a deep desire to please him daily in word and deed. God said, ‘I will write my laws on your hearts and minds.’ This is real liberty.
Real freedom can only come into a person’s life through relationship with God and this relationship is only made possible through Jesus Christ. Once we realise that the greatest enemy to our freedom is lack of relationship with God caused by our own sin, the sooner we can recognise our need. If a person has no understanding and awareness of their need then they can never see the need for God’s solution. The great old hymn writer penned these words: ‘My sin, O the bliss of this glorious thought. My sin, not inpart but the whole. Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul.’
Why don’t you take the time to visit Harrow International Christian Centre and discover the real freedom God created you for? Check out our service times on the website. You will receive a warm welcome and hear how you can take real steps to freedom in your life.
I look forward to welcoming you personally.
My heart was lifted by a recent article by Pastor John Lancaster who wrote on the theme of worship. He explained that we are in danger of reducing our worship of the Almighty to a time in Church when ‘we sing songs that bless us and have a ‘time of ministry’ when our personal needs are met.’ He explained that worship is an encounter with God quoting William Temple whose description of worship inspires us to hunger for an ever deepening daily encounter with God – ‘to worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind by the truth of God, to purify the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.’
God created us in His own image crafting and shaping us for relationship with Himself and spiritual worship through a daily walk with the Almighty. Because of this nothing else can satisfy the human heart and mind no matter what it is that man turns to seeking to fill the void in his life. Here I refer to the daily walk in life and not a service when we obey His Word by meeting together. That being said, our joining together in worship must go deeper than a particular style of song or an intimate atmosphere created by the modern setting of semi-darkness, lights and smoke. It involves the heart, mind and will of a person being moved by the Holy Spirit and enabled to rise beyond the limitation of the natural to the realm of the glory of God. When our full focus is lifted from the daily cares and routine of life we begin to ‘ascend the hill of the Lord’ through the revelation of the holiness of God himself. I write of an awareness of the glory of God from when we rise to when we sleep. A God consciousness and awareness of His presence that remains with us even when interrupted by the routine and often mundane aspects of life, we can live with a God consciousness in our inner being.
When we do gather together in the house of the Lord our worship should be shaped by praise, thanksgiving and adoration as the Lord reveals His mercy and grace afresh towards us. Very often we limit our meetings to a celebration style of expression which is wonderful and needed, but as we encounter Christ together we must learn to move as it were, through the outer court of His presence, to the inner court allowing ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit into the most holy place. For this we are totally dependent upon God to lead us for nothing of the flesh can take us here. As we bow, kneel before Him we humbly step into this intimate place becoming conscious of our utter unworthiness and yet through His blood we are able to stand in the glory of who He is and worship in spirit and in truth. Transparent and opened faced we behold the glory as we are transformed through an encounter with the Almighty. It is an extraordinary moment when heaven’s atmosphere invades our world. Every part of our being is moved by the Spirit, therefore it is understandable we are changed from glory to glory. Even though still limited by the restriction of the physical realm we are touched by the manifest presence of the Most High. This is not emotion based or cultivated by human staged programming for it is only made possibly by the drawing of the Holy Spirit. We can only imagine what heaven will be like when we will worship before the very throne of God. A well-known worship song uses the lyric ‘indescribable’, it says it all. O God take us deeper in you.