Whatever we fear keeps us from experiencing God and all that He is. We must lift our focus from that fear to Him.
10 The fear [recognition of who He is; loving Him above all else] of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and [experiential] knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.“
Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” John 8:32. It is interesting that just before this statement–and part of it–is this, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” I would like to meld two concepts together. One is hating all else except the Father and the other is whatever we bind on earth is bound in heaven.
26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26
In the Matthew account, Jesus was talking about the fact that He didn’t come to bring overall peace to the world, but a sword as He gives individual peace. The gospel would divide family members, “a man against his father, a daughter against her mother…a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household” Matthew 34-36. It still does.
19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19
We can conject that the keys are faith and trust, belief and obedience. The melding of the two concepts is this: If anything or anyone comes before our belief, faith, trust and obedience to the Lord Jesus, then we are bound here on this earth; being bound to earth tethers us in a way that keeps us from experiencing all that Christ has for us. We must understand that being tethered to this earth is more than just a noose on our foot, “the cords of their sins hold them fast” Proverbs 5:22. Our tethers actually bind us like ropes; they chain us and weigh us down. Mark 4:19 gives us a list, “the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things…”. Jesus gave the biggest obstacle for most people: Family. We must give up even our loved ones in order to follow Christ. Do we trust Him to know their future? Is He strong enough and wise enough to take care of them–regardless of what happens to them?
If we can let go of even these tethers, then we are loosed to experience the fullness of His love, joy and peace. Like Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”
Freedom is found beyond the tethers of this world.
By focusing on Christ beyond the good and bad circumstances we are in or our family is in, we can become truly free to experience His peace and feel His joy, to love as He loves, and to give: We give patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control to those around us. We give truth both in word and deed. We practice righteousness because we ARE righteous on the inside; we just need to work it to the outside.
What tethers you to this world? Do you truly believe that our heavenly Father will meet all our needs according to His riches in glory (Philippians 4:19)? It’s a daily decision based upon daily practice.
Abba, what tethers me to this world? My love for Robin? No. We have made the pledge to each other to love You first. Our children? No. We gave them to You soon after they were born. Our grandchildren? No. They are Yours, too. Security? Health? Position? MUSIC? No. We consider them forfeited for Your sake. It’s a daily struggle to keep them on the altar, but our daily practice of prayer and Bible study keeps us current on our commitment to You. We KNOW YOU are committed to us. Once more, I quote part of my favorite psalm, “Whom have I in heaven but You? And this earth has nothing I desire besides You” (Psalm 73:25). Jesus, be my Lord and I will be Your disciple. You have the words of life. Amen.