"To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth wiill set you free."
Are you free? This is one important question each of us needs to ask ourselves. Sure, as Americans we are free considering what the rest of the world goes through. We take comfort in that notion each time we turn on the TV and see global news. But, what about personally? We can live in a free country, yet still not have freedom in our lives. Take a moment and consider your present chains. Is there something or someone in your life that feels like one big weight making your attempts of flight impossible? Maybe it's a spouse that feels like an albatross around your neck most days. It could be a child who needs more attention than your others. What about your house that mandates costly repairs right after you paid that last maintenance bill? Or is it that paycheck that seems to be gone the moment it hits your bank account?
In today's verse, Jesus speaks about a different kind of freedom. This freedom is the freedom of the heart. This type of freedom can only be felt internally because it must become part of who we are.
This inner freedom speaks of the Spirit. It is related to how the Word of God is being integrated into our lives each day. Before Jesus talks of the importance of being free, he says, "If you hold to my teaching." This means if you abide by the word.
The only way you can abide by the word is to delve into the Bible daily. Abiding requires regularly reading time and to think about whom Jesus is and what he taught. I know I sound like a broken record some Mondays, but how else can you absorb the word if you don't regularly take part in it? Would you rely on your best friend's synopsis of a book you were dying to read? Of course not! You'd run right out to buy that book or order it from the library. Then why do we depend on other ways to understand God's teachings before we read his book?
The four Gospels are a good way to start. I know the Bible can be long and a bit intimidating for many. So start on some common threads that bounded our foundations of faith. The Gospels are familiar stories we can make associations from. Read them again, and you will be able to draw more information that will affect your life the moment you pick up that book. Sometimes it helps to memorize certain words Jesus spoke such as, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." Mark up that Bible! It is not a library book; it is a book of your journey of faith. Put notes by certain Biblical verses that touch your heart. Make it a road map of your life so that in future years, when you read it again, it may touch you in a different way and you can reflect on old territory.
Finally meditate on them, feel Jesus speaking to your heart allowing you that freedom from everything. Most importantly, abiding implies that we integrate truth into our lives. The outcome of abiding and integrating truth is TRUE INNER FREEDOM!
Father, thank you for leaving us a book of your own words.
Thank you for the life and teachings of Jesus.
Help me to read your word each day.
Send me the Spirit to remind me.
I want to know the truth that will set me free. Amen