For the First Week of 2016: “You are free”

Reveal: The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” —Genesis 2:15-17.

Observations: These are the first recorded words of God to man: “You are free…” God gives us freedom, free will above all, first. It is the leading component of our relationship to Him, and without it there is no opportunity for meaningful interaction, no basis for love. There must be a choice for love to exist and for fidelity to be established. He has made us free to choose Him, which means obedience to Him because He is Creator and we are creatures, and if we are free to choose Him we are free to turn from Him and to disobey Him. He sets before us this contrast, blessing in Him and cursing apart from Him, and He says to us, “You are free.” He often places these choices right next to each other, in the same spot and at the same time.

Prayer: Lord, You have honored us with freedom. You have created us to be free, and it is for freedom that You came, Lord Jesus, for freedom that You set us free, that we would not be burdened by a yoke of slavery ever again. As you have set us free, Lord, give us freedom. You know those things that keep us from freedom to enjoy the life You’ve blessed us with. Give us freedom, Lord, to be the men and women You’ve created us to be. Keep us from slavery to habitual sin and punctilious legalism and lack of discipline, from slavery to self-deprecation and vanity, from slavery to anything that is displeasing to You, so we can be totally committed to you, and then be truly free.

Exercise: You are free. Christ has set you free, and it was God’s intention for you from the very beginning. Choose freedom.

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