The Freedom Challenge!

Do we really want to be set free?  If So, we must first be set Free from our self everyday! I invite you to try the Freedom Challenge today!

Apostle Paul describes so often as being victorious in adversity and sufferings vs being overcome by them, to the point of not just buckle under and enduring them, but we can "Take pleasure in our infirmities?

"...My strength is made perfect in (your) weakness...Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: 2 Corinthians 12:9  KJV

Where does this 180 of Freedom Happen?
You mean we can 'SUFFER' and not be thrown off course, but become more deeply anchored? Another translation puts it this way: "Therefore, I take pleasure in being without (my) strength, in insults, in being pinched, in being chased about, in being cooped up in a corner for Christ's sake; for when I am without (my) strength, than am I dynamite!"  What a description of having met the Freedom Challenge! Emptied of my strength and filled with God's strength!

How Rare is That Experience To Us?
'Paul willingly carried his cross, out of which sprang his chorus of victorious praise; and the harder the trial, the more he trusted and rejoiced!" And we can too!
Shouting from the very Altar of Self Sacrifice declaring, "Yea, and if I be offered upon the service and sacrifice of your faith (to benefit others), I joy and rejoice with you all."
If we too are willing and faithful to take this Freedom Challenge, to take up our cross is the way Jesus put it as the one condition to Follow Me! Then we can learn to draw strength from all that comes to us vs being defeated again and again!
The Freedom Challenge is costly, it will cost us our very selves because ultimately it's not about us as a SOURCE but of SERVICE -- in fact it will take a personal cross of willingness on our part to accept the dynamic required of –

Which sheds off 'self-pity, resentment, retaliation, anger at God and others, and on and on! Basically, the carnal fleshly 'person' of self that only taking up our cross of self denial can render powerless in us!.
We need to look at two things specifically in this and that is the manifestation of Love that SETS US FREE! Because we can't have one without the other:
Again, the Apostle Paul speaking of any 'loss to himself' described in 2 Corinthians 4, summed his Christian life and experience as "Always bearing our cross of self-denial that the LOVE of Christ might be made manifest in us' --
And whose words in 1 Corinthians 13 painted the incredible portrait of that Love in it's full display or manifestation, that "Without LOVE we are nothing!" I debated with calling this the Love Challenge, but I realized that they each require one another FREEDOM THROUGH DIVINE LOVE!

Jesus' words give a description of many aspects of when we are walking in the Freedom Challenge: "If someone strikes you on the one cheek, turn to him the other cheek...if anyone asks you to go with them one mile, go with them two...Forgive 7x70, love your enemies, do not seek revenge, give freely to others asking nothing in return -- without offense and bitterness.
And on and on to the point of the most extreme manifestation of love which is to lay down our very lives for others in all ways both small and large, even to death if need be.
In a word, Jesus taught and demonstrated that 'LOVE IS A LIVING SACRIFICE" -- Paul describes the meaning of the 'altar' for Christians as the offering of our lives to Christ, 'to be ever consumed, yet ever living: to be ever living, yet ever consumed.'
Our day by day walk with Christ propels us to 'grow out of ourselves and grow into Him' to the point that less and less we love ourselves and more and more we learn to love God and others.

As only the power and virtue of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, can take the great ego and nail it to our cross: If we don't take in JESUS, there will be no JESUS in us to meet The Freedom Challenge that we can only experience through Love!

The references for us to “Die TO Self” means coming into places of total dependence upon Christ to do in us what we cannot do from our own selves. The reproduction of the Love of Christ is the fruit that appears on the branch as it clings to the Vine.

Freedom is Beyond Ourselves!
ONLY being consumed in the love of Christ through the Holy Spirit and the inspiration of the Word can set us free -- free of the SELF that is in direct conflict with GOD'S DESIRE TO PERFECT HIS LOVE IN US! See Ephesians 3:9-21

We have the first and most perfect example of fulfilling the Freedom Challenge which is Jesus Christ obedient to the Father's will within their love relationship, and He alone can ask us to take this challenge which He did, again and again in the Gospels:
He died and He rose from the dead.  He  issued the challenge to FOLLOW Him!
He has handed us our Cross of Self Denial so that we could both receive and fulfill The Freedom Challenge and be filled with all the fullness of God!
God is Love!
Luke 9:23 2 Corinthians 12:10 Romans 12:11

                                          By: Sis Linda Wheeler - Matthew

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