‘They are both important, [freedom and bread]. It’s like asking someone to choose between bread and water. You need food, but you cannot live on that alone. You need freedom; it’s what distinguishes us from other things on this earth. Freedom helps us to materialize great innovations, to dream, to create. It’s all part of human life. You cannot take one from another.’ Emin Milli quoted by Amy Makinnon in the Glasgow Guardian http://glasgowguardian.co.uk/2012/06/23/where-next-for-azerbaijan/
The words struck my heart as I read: how many people do I know who are living off spiritual bread, sitting in our pews bound by affliction and pain, disease and torment, searching for just one more morsel to keep them alive spiritually, failing to realise the power that is resident within them to make them free? How many times have I struggled in my walk and ministry to survive through the deserts of life, never understanding the keys of God’s word in my hands could open a door to life abundant? It was right there. All I had to do was take it. All you have to do is accept it, run with abandon to the Master who already won your victory, He already made you free.
We sit in spiritual prisons of unbelief, unforgiveness, fear and trembling, always wondering if the chains that hinder our worship are as evident to those around us as they are to you and me. We watch others walking in liberty, envious of their freedom to worship, relate and grow, all the while desperately seeking to convince ourselves that maybe they have a prison too. As our spirits within us travel the disinterested pathways of defeat, the light of hope begins to flicker, and we become accustomed to the chains, our eyes cease to look for escape. We begin to believe the lies that we were meant for this, that we don’t deserve to be free, that it is our fault, and no one cares anyway. In this prison, so often invisible to those around us, we feel the joy we longed for dying; the dreams we searched for seem are abandoned and we live only for a morsel of bread. Just enough to keep me alive. Just enough to give us some small comfort, a sense of security in the grey walls of mediocrity, of obscurity as the voices of those we loved grows fainter in our memories every day. We live for bread. We have no dreams. We have no individuality. We are not important. We do not remember what it means to have a future. We live for bread.
We have forgotten the words of the Master who said Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matt 11:28) We forget the power we once held as sons and daughters of the Most High until the moment that the crimson stream of liberty touches our stony hearts with this message from on high, The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; (Isaiah 61:1) You see, my problem is not only my prison. You can take my walls away, but until you heal my heart I will live the same. I will not know what it means to be free until the Master touches me. Only His hand can heal me, only His touch has the power to remove the bitterness that threatens to destroy me, only His presence can cause me to feel the winds of freedom in all I am, for …where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (II Corinthians 3:17) In His presence I will begin once more to discover what it means to hope, to dream, to walk with purpose and dignity, knowing that I am not a mistake, knowing that I have been purchased by the precious blood of Jesus, knowing the past does not own me anymore.
I will embrace the words of the Master with all that is within me, I will reach to the hands that hold those keys to find the power that is given from Him to forgive the past. To forget the hurt. To leave behind the pain, the passion, the shattering reality of yesterday, and learn a new way, find a new future in Him. I will begin, not entirely now, not all at once, but with each passing day to understand what it means to be truly free. I will lift up my head in His presence and dance once more with abandon. I will have joy, I will have a future, I will let go, not because of me, but because He taught me.
He taught me that to carry the past behind you destroys the future, He taught me that the words that stole my heart were never real, He taught me that what someone else says does not define who I am in His eyes, and He is taking me to a place so far beyond the pain I walk through now. He did give me a future and a hope. He is helping me to forgive and change. He is teaching me that I do not need my walls, and chains, my anger and resentment, my incredible pain anymore. He is teaching me to be free. He is teaching me more and more what it means to be chosen, what it means to be beloved, and He will continue to teach me as I walk through these doors holding my own keys. He does not release me to live in the past, He releases me to tell others that there is one who holds the keys, there is one who loves you, and you do not have to be the strongest or the best to get His attention, you just have to answer one question, “Wilt thou be made whole?” My answer is yes. I do not live for bread alone, …but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matt 4:4)
Because they are both important.
Freedom and bread.