Freedom and grace

Now the Lord is the Spirit,
and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is freedom.

2 Corinthians 3:17


Grace is one of the first things to go.

I realized that about myself yesterday. I’m not proud of it. When I’m feeling stressed, my ability to tolerate even minor annoyances decreases drastically.

I found myself talking back to the radio as I was getting ready for church (yes, church!): “How about playing some MUSIC instead of all that chit-chat???”

I knew I was in need of much grace. And was delivering little.

So when Romans 1:31 was read aloud in our morning church service—a list of things that should not be done—one phrase spit at me:
without mercy.

Without mercy.

Was that me?

I moved on to James 2:13: “For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.”


I looked up the Greek word for mercy, Strong’s 1656, eleos. And immeditely noticed the word that followed it, Strong’s 1657, was eleutheria, meaning freedom.

Mercy. Freedom.
Side by side.

Was there a stronger connection between the two words other than Greek alphabetical order?

While judgment is bound up in law, mercy is released in freedom.
Freedom allows opportunity.
And through those opportunities we love.

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Galatians 5:13-14

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God.
1 Peter 2:16-17a

When I’m bound, tied up by my own anxieties and worries, I’m not free to deliver grace to others.
I’m not free to show grace.
I’m simply, well, not free.

But when I embrace my freedom—because of mercy that has been freely delivered to me through the Spirit of the Lord—I can give grace again.

That is freedom.

And in freedom, grace is never the first thing to go; it never leaves at all.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I continue counting God’s gifts to 1000,
today in freedom, through grace:

- Freedom to be a stay-at-home mom (# 281)
- Freedom to travel about the country at will (# 282)
- Freedom to vote for my leaders (# 283)
- Freedom to speak out when I disagree with them (# 284)
- Freedom to serve and love others (# 285)
- Freedom to openly worship Jesus as Lord (# 286)
- Freedom to fall and get up again (# 287)
- Freedom from sin’s curse on me (# 288)

* * *

What freedoms are you thankful for today?



Barbara H. said...

I had to smile at your "rant" at the radio. I feel that way sometimes.

In fact -- just now when I clicked to comment on your post, I got a window saying "Please sign in to Blogger." And I responded irritatedly out loud, "I AM signed in to Blogger, you dummy!"


I never thought of the correlation between being "bound up" by fears, irritations, etc. hindering my freedom to receive and show God's grace, but I see it. I've experienced it this weekend -- though I dearly love my family, we've had quite a bit of family time this weekend due to my mil's birthday, our usual Sunday get-together, and then the 4th of July today. I'm used to having quite a bit of time by myself and was getting a little....testy and asked for God's grace to either handle all of this better and/or to have some alone time today to offset all the togetherness. Thanks for these thoughts.

Lisa notes... said...

Ha. Having to laugh at your Blogger comment, Barbara. It does that to me occasionally too and I always want to talk back.

I very much relate to your need for “a bit of time by myself.” It’s one of the things I’m concerned about not getting this month in my 2 weeks of constant traveling with other people. But like you, I’m also praying for God’s grace to either be able to handle it well, or for him to give me pockets of time alone to recover. Oh, the joys of being an introvert.

But greater joys come with our freedom in Christ! Hope you have a wonderful 4th today (and maybe get some alone time too).

elizabeth said...

Smiling at the comments between you and Barbara...we've commented back and forth before about the need for "white space/margins" in our lives. I too get testy without time to myself.
Thanks for the insight into the verse in James Lisa!

Southern Gal said...

Your words speak to my heart today. I've been struggling this week. I'm thankful for grace. I need to extend it to others and to myself in order to live life to the fullest. Thanks.

Anna said...

"When I’m bound, tied up by my own anxieties and worries, I’m not free to deliver grace to others.
I’m not free to show grace." I can identify with that! Beautiful post, thank you for sharing.

Angela said...

Wow. I wonder what is God trying to tell me. I just left David Ruperts, I was feeling low as if I didn't matter. Here I sat in bed talking to God and then I thought, "I'm gonna go visit David's." After commenting, I saw your picture and thought, "Oh I haven't been to Lisa's in a while so I'll go see her too."

Feeling a bit better, my daughters came and asked if they could go to our new neighbors house to swim.

"No." I said as I continued reading your post on mercy and freedom.

Next they came and said that the neighbor wanted to talk to me.

"I'm busy tell your Dad to go."

My husband who was sitting beside me said, "I'm resting. Why won't you go?"

"She talks too long."

After going back and forward for a while, I yelled, "Will you please just go!"

Thank you as I'm now smiling, talking to my husband again.

Debbie said...

We are so blessed by the freedom we enjoy in the US. I can read my Bible, go to any church I choose and wear a cross around my neck. That's not always possible in other countries. I had to chuckle at your lack of grace. After all Lisa, you are human. But it's good to recognize when you're moving into reacting from our flesh. Believe me, been there and done that too. :)

Blessings and love,

PS. Happy 4th of July!

Cathy said...

Thank God for His mercy and grace. Whom the son sets free is free indeed. :)

Joan said...

Lisa - I needed to read this post. Thank you!

I'm having some health issues now that have left me ranging from a "bit irritable" to...well let's just say I'm not easy to live with. I certainly haven't exhibited a lot of grace lately.

Again, thank you for this wonderful post.


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