Freedom in Jesus v. slaves to rules

Does anybody else actually experience a sense of true freedom in Christ Jesus?

It seems like we are all busy trying to figure out what we are and are not supposed to do in any given situation. And we must know all the possible mitigating factors and caveats, and analyze them at any given time to figure out How Guilty we should feel at any given time. How is that freedom? Certainly not freedom from worry?

I mean sure we should know at least what we need to know for salvation and then some, but when we talk of spirituality, when does it quit becoming a chore and require lots of constant vigilance, and start being freedom? How does trying to follow every rule and cross every t and dot every i, compare to the freedom Jesus died for us to have? Is that not a bit like futility and/or scrupulosity?

Gal 5:1-6
For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. It is I, Paul, who am telling you that if you have yourselves circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you. Once again I declare to every man who has himself circumcised that he is bound to observe the entire law.

You are separated from Christ, you who are trying to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we await the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

Does anybody else struggle with this; if Jesus died to set us free, from what? If we are trying to essentially be “Jews on steroids” then how is the crucifixion of any value? And why are we so hung up on words and explanations?

1 Cor 1:17-24
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the learning of the learned I will set aside.”

Where is the wise one? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish? For since in the wisdom of God the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those who have faith.

For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

Does anybody want to share stories of how they have been set free through Christ? Do you know you’re free intellectually, experientially, or both? How can you reconcile that feeling with obedience to the Church?

Alan

Freedom in Christ is freedom from the effects of sin through reconciliation. We all have concupisent natures after the fall and quite possibly a predilection towards sin. Wtih Christ, who is with us every step of the way and helps us with this cross, we are free if we fully trust in him.

The “rules” of the Church are there to keep us away from falling into sin. They are akin to a good parent giving a child a set of rules to follow to keep that child from harm. This is just one of the reasons the Church is called “mother”. The Church images the love of God as a good parent. The Church’s teachings fall by extention from the very “rules” or commandments that God gave on Mt. Sinai.

“Rules” today are often viewed negatively, especially by Americans that have a warped sense of their freedom because they don’t understand the very foundation of their constitution (which was based on rules). Rules today are only looked upon as “laws” but, another definition of “rule” is “a way to live ones life”. So these “rules of the Church” and by extention God, are ways to live our lives to keep us from falling into mortal sin and final damnation.

These rules, which we are free to resist because we have free will, given to us by a Loving God who wants us to freely choose to love him, are for our Good. They are a way of life to help us obtain eternal life. But, again you are free to choose the wide path. I don’t recommend it.

*Obedience *to Christ and His Church leads to true freedom, the freedom to be and to act in accord with human nature as God originally created it (and more!). Check out CCC 1730-1748.

i have so often heard in various community places where christians have told me that the churchs only purpose is to control you…

i myself am a witness to the power of god in the freedom, and it strikes me as providence for this post to be here today on the day where I have never felt so free in that way…

i had recently read peter kreefts prayer for beginners where he states “god wants you to be free after you repent (because you are free), satan wants you to think you will be free when you sin (and while you sin) because he is a deciever”… this struck me last night as the most simple yet most complex thing i had read it really illumined my mind…

freedom in christ for me is to live a more human life than anything else… you might be decieved or enticed by satan into thinking … i am human therefor i need to comit carnal desires… yet these desires eat us up control us dehumanize us in every aspect possible…

my pastor today told me i needed to make a choice to mature my mind… renew my mind in christ… i chose to do so and pray that i will always do so…freedom in christ is being able to walk down the street or ride your bike with not only a clear concious but a godly concious, a confidence in your intellect soul and mind and hand, the ability to look at someone as who they are a human and give a humble smile that may send a message to them “everything is going to be alright”…

freedom in christ is to lay down your life if it meant you would save someone from eternal damnation… and that is what god did, that is the ultimate sacrifice, how could i have not seen it so clearly before? how i would do so myself if god willed yet not i feel called to do more than i ever wanted…

i agree with the above poster that the church is our mother the doctrines and catechism is a guide to the ultimate commandments… it striked me while in college the amount of people that looked down upon the church for “adding to” , while yet not seeing the church for what it is… i want those people to one day expierence what i have and millions of us… i want to save as many as possible…this is a statement i have neveer made before and i mean it out of the most sincere depths of my mind… i will not let anybody that i come into contact with not expierence god through me

I would be interested to know too, because I don’t often feel very “free”. Paranoid and afraid that I will die in a state of mortal sin and not even know it? Yes, quite often. Scared that whatever I do won’t be enough and I will go to hell anyway after decades of trying? Yes. Worried that maybe, just maybe what I believe to be true isn’t and this has all been a waste of time? Sometimes. Free? Not so much.

Yes we have freedom in Jesus of Nazareth. Within his Church. True life.

Does following him involve commandments and “rules”? -certainty. If you love me you will keep my commandments. But they are not the “focus” --it is Jesus is the focus.

Some yes can struggle with things like scrupulosity - and while they can know true freedom in Christ via the life of grace and prayer and sacraments --yet still struggle with with this burden and slowly (working with a regular confessor) experience more and more freedom in such as well.

frjacquesphilippe.com/theme/freedom

““I want them to understand that it is beautiful to be a Christian! The generally prevailing idea is that Christians have to observe an immense number of commandments, prohibitions, precepts, and other such restrictions, so that Christianity is a heavy and oppressive way of living, and it would therefore be more liberating to live without all these burdens. But I would like to make it clear that to be sustained by this great Love and God’s sublime revelation is not a burden, but rather a set of wings—that it is truly beautiful to be a Christian. It is an experience that gives us room to breathe and move, but most of all, it places us within a community since, as Christians, we are never alone: first of all, there is God, who is always with us; secondly, we are always forming a great community among ourselves: a community of people together on a journey, a community with a project for the future. All of this means that we are empowered to live a life worth living. This is the joy of being a Christian: that it is beautiful and right to believe!””

~Pope Benedict XVI 2005

““To gaze upon Christ!” If we do this, we realize that Christianity is more than and different from a moral code, from a series of requirements and laws. It is the gift of a friendship that lasts through life and death: “No longer do I call you servants, but friends” (Jn 15:15), the Lord says to his disciples. We entrust ourselves to this friendship. Yet precisely because Christianity is more than a moral system, because it is the gift of friendship, for this reason it also contains within itself great moral strength, which is so urgently needed today on account of the challenges of our time. If with Jesus Christ and his Church we constantly re-read the Ten Commandments of Sinai, entering into their full depth, then a great, valid and lasting teaching unfolds before us. The Ten Commandments are first and foremost a “yes” to God, to a God who loves us and leads us, who carries us and yet allows us our freedom: indeed, it is he who makes our freedom real (the first three commandments). It is a “yes” to the family (fourth commandment), a “yes” to life (fifth commandment), a “yes” to responsible love (sixth commandment), a “yes” to solidarity, to social responsibility and to justice (seventh commandment), a “yes” to truth (eighth commandment) and a “yes” to respect for other people and for what is theirs (ninth and tenth commandments). By the strength of our friendship with the living God we live this manifold “yes” and at the same time we carry it as a signpost into this world of ours today.”

~ Pope Benedict XVI 8 September 2007

and also

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/homilies/2006/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20060108_battesimo_en.html

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2012/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20120516_en.html

St. Augustine said, “LOVE! Then do whatever you want.”

When we live in charity there are no laws because love by its very nature fulfills the law. The law no longer feels like a burden when you love because love wants to love God above all things, love does not want to take the name of the Lord in vain, love WANTS to keep holy the Sabbath day, love wants to honor Father and Mother, love does not want to take the life of another, love does not want to steal from others and love is happy that the ‘other’ has what he/she has, love does not want to hurt their neighbor with lies, love does not want what others have because they are too busy being happy for the gifts that others have, they are happy that the ‘other’ is happy.

If we are always loving the ‘other’ than whatever we do is fine.

This is true freedom!

For me a great epiphany came when I finally realized all the little moment by moment “rules” I set for myself to better conform myself to Christ were, in fact, an imperfection that needed to be purged … namely a deep-seated (and for many years hidden) need to control. Perhaps I got some small glimpse of what St. Therese described as what most held her back was the thought she could will herself to sanctity through sheer force of effort. The result, as one would expect, is quite the opposite of freedom: it’s self-imposed tyranny … and it leads to exhaustion!!

Now I confine myself to the utmost of simplicity. No more analyzing all the moment by moment situations and incessantly thinking things through. All I do is … Pray … Listen … Act. And therein lies the freedom! My personal expression of St. Teresa’s maxim: “The important thing isn’t to think much but love much.”

I can certainly say this has led to a much more fluid, in-rhythm, spontaneous way of living that I truly believe is Spirit based. And stillness of mind and heart is the foundation of it all … for it is only then that we can hear.

As Fr. de Cuassade describes in “Abandonment to Divine Providence” we live our prayer and it begins to still us. And then we will begin to hear all sorts of little inspirations to do little acts of good. Which we should then act upon … promptly, cheerfully, joyfully. This, as he says, is the essence of holiness … to respond to Christ “as the wind blows.”

It is so easy … which is why I ignored this simple advice for so many years :slight_smile: I always thought I could “manage” my way to God through some sort of rubics cube contraption that I would build. Just another way of saying “rules.”

Hope this helps!

Dave:)

PS - Just so no one misunderstands, I’m speaking of personal, self-imposed rules … NOT the “rules” of the Church … which, through following, leads to freedom.

Before Christ came into my life, I saw the Ten Commandments and all the doctrines of the Church as a burden of laws that one had to follow to get to heaven.

After Christ came into my life, the Ten Commandments and doctrines of the Church are the path toward true freedom.

“True freedom isn’t necessarily having the privilege to choose between good and evil, but the ability to choose only good, for we often choose evil for ourselves thinking it is good.” From Thomas Merton, in his book, “No Man is an Island.” by an anonymous philosopher

Jim

A friend of mine described his connection to Jesus as a relationship, not a religion. I strive for that too. I see religion as burdensome, full of rules. Jesus took the Pharisees to task for all their rules. I see spirituality as free, letting the Spirit flow through us to others.

““I want them to understand that it is beautiful to be a Christian! The generally prevailing idea is that Christians have to observe an immense number of commandments, prohibitions, precepts, and other such restrictions, so that Christianity is a heavy and oppressive way of living, and it would therefore be more liberating to live without all these burdens. But I would like to make it clear that to be sustained by this great Love and God’s sublime revelation is not a burden, but rather a set of wings—that it is truly beautiful to be a Christian. It is an experience that gives us room to breathe and move, but most of all, it places us within a community since, as Christians, we are never alone: first of all, there is God, who is always with us; secondly, we are always forming a great community among ourselves: a community of people together on a journey, a community with a project for the future. All of this means that we are empowered to live a life worth living. This is the joy of being a Christian: that it is beautiful and right to believe!””

~Pope Benedict XVI 2005

And this too is a wonderful reading: vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2006/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20060315_en.html

Article I saw today -on freedom

blog.adw.org/2013/05/what-is-the-christian-understanding-of-freedom-and-how-is-it-different-from-the-worlds-fake-freedom/

Jesus called his disciples “friends”, not “slaves”. A friend can do whatever he chooses without harming the friendship. A slave can only do what his master tells him.

As Jesus’ followers, we are all granted with free will. This freedom is not without boundary. The proper boundary is for our protection. A Chinese saying of Confucius goes like this: “Do whatever your heart leads you without trespassing.” Without trespassing is the key.

True freedom is doing the right thing without feeling being limited. This requires proper formation of the conscience so one knows to be or not to be, the willingness of following God’s commandments and Church’s teaching so one will not purposely commit a sin.

I do feel the freedom of following the Lord. It is like a horse living on a large fenced pasture where the horse runs happily and freely but will not trespass over the fence into the danger.

If you follow Catholicism without a relationship with Jesus Christ, it will be a burden, for religion without faith often conflicts with the ego-desires of the false self.

Faith frees us from this and once you encounter Jesus Christ, Catholicism is not only full of rich meaning, but the path of freedom.

Jim

Why are you double posting? :rolleyes:

Jim

Thank you all for the great posts! :tiphat:

Just to let you all know, I have been reading. I just don’t know where to start, because there are so many excellent thoughts in this thread! :thumbsup:

At this time I have to go feed the cat. I do plan to make some substantive comments on this thread, though. This is just a quick note to let you know I’m paying attention.

Alan

Article I saw today on freedom: blog.adw.org/2013/05/what-is-the-christian-understanding-of-freedom-and-how-is-it-different-from-the-worlds-fake-freedom/

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