ROSCOMMON, MI – My best day as a kid was the last day of school. No more teachers, no more tests, no more sack lunches, no more getting up early, no more homework, just complete freedom. Freedom to have fun, go to the beach, stay up late, play in the woods, and freedom to stay with grandma for weeks at a time and eat as much ice cream as possible out of her magically stocked freezer. Sweet Freedom!
Unfortunately, as we all know, this freedom was only temporary because school always came back to enslave my time and imagination. Thankfully, there is a freedom that is eternal and magnificent. As we celebrate Easter, we must remember this freedom we have in Christ because He gave His life for us on the cross where He paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Yet, there is a price we must also pay - the price of humble surrender. Compared to the price Christ paid, humble surrender would seems quite easy. Nevertheless, it is the most difficult act of the human will.
Our pride and our ego are far too important to just surrender control. We know what’s best because we have all the answers.
This unwillingness to surrender reminds me of an encounter between Captain Naaman and the prophet Elisha in the book of 2 Kings 5. Naaman was a great warrior, but he had leprosy. He was sent to the prophet Elisha for healing who told him to wash in the Jordan River seven times, and he would be healed (made clean and set free from the disease). The price of freedom was too high, too undignified, too humiliating so he stormed away full of pride and doomed to die.
Proverbs 16:18 tells us that “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling”. This was almost the end of Naaman’s story, and for many of us this scenario has become all to familiar. We desire to obey God’s word, and grow stronger and deeper in our faith until we reach the place where obedience and relationship demand too high a price. We choose disobedience over obedience, defeat over victory, ego over humility, self-reliance over surrender and captivity instead of freedom. Why? Because being free in Christ requires total reliance on him and not on ourselves.
For Naaman to be free he had to humble himself, his ego, and assumptions, and literally allow himself to be “washed away.” Freedom comes through the blood of Christ washing away our self - all of our pride, vanity, ego and self-righteousness. When we choose to live in freedom, in victory, we discover healing for our souls, the desire to forgive and be forgiven, and the ability to see and want the best in others. The truth is, once you have experienced living free in Christ, anything less is unacceptable, and we desire others to also live in Christ’s freedom. Freedom is contagious, and victory is inspiring. Jesus won the victory for our freedom. Let’s live in it. Let’s share it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mick Schatz serves on the staff of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. He is the State Director of Spiritual Enrichment and Retreats and lives at Bambi Lake.