~ The following post is a summary (including many direct quotes) based on a sermon by Jeremy Mangerchine at Agathos Church, Columbus OH. He gave the talk on October 12, 2014 and it can be heard in full length audio recording by clicking here: The Other Side of Freedom. I have only personally added small pieces of content that helped the talk fit the context of a blog post. All (good) quotes belong to him! If you have not read his book yet, get it by clicking here: The Longest Bridge across Water: An Ordinary Man’s Encounters with an Unordinary God it will not disappoint! ~
It has often been said by those receiving a revelation of grace that transition from condemnation to grace is akin to transitioning from being a chicken that pecks at the ground all day long to an eagle that soars the thermals. That picture of freedom is not lost on me, but I have personally been asking a question for about three years about “what do I do after I know who I am in Christ?” That very question is what Jeremy Mangerchine came to from New Orleans to preach on. He called it “The Other Side of Freedom”
Jeremy recently saw a video of an eagle take down a deer. Now that’s what I’m talking about! We don’t just become eagles so we can soar. We become eagles to soar AND hunt! When we realize that we have been set free from sin, we sometimes find that freedom is a scarier place than we expected. Shawshank Redemption depicted this (albeit somewhat horrifically). It’s not that the long-time prisoner didn’t like his new-found freedom, its just that after he was released from prison, he didn’t know how to live life from the other side of the bars and so . . . he gave his freedom away. Freedom is a very scary thing. But intimacy is our guard. In the New Covenant, rules are replaced by relationship “. . . I will write it on their hearts . . .” (Jer. 31:33)
There is place in God that is primarily about obedience and moment-by-moment dependency. Following His every word. That place never disappears and does remain our relational foundation with Him that He will often frequent with us. But what do we do when God asks US to speak? When God asks us what WE think? What do we do when God asks US to be part of the planning? The answer is we all need to be taught by God.
But how can you be taught by God? Intimacy! The Holy Spirit should be our # 1 teacher. Intimacy is the key to God’s kind of instruction. Some schools and textbooks ask you to complete a regimented set of problems because the human teachers have made a curriculum that is helpful to extend their impact (since otherwise they could only personally help one student at a time). God’s teaching is hard to make into a formula. It is hard to mass-produce. He has created each one of us to hear differently. God speak to the individual heart. God does not need to have a standardized formula or curriculum because He can be fully present with all of us, individually, at the same time! He speaks to us in our lingo. He makes it so simple to walk with Him, but we must avail ourselves to Him. If we avail Himself to Him, He avails Himself to us without measure. The intimacy is there on His end. If we make our heart and our ears available to Him, we will hear.
Jeremy said, “Every single one of my heroes in scripture was personally taught by God” . . . and it looked different for every single one of them. God had an educational plan for each one of them because he had a purpose for them. God will teach us what we are to say. God is not withholding anything from us, we are the only ones closing the spigot. God reveals His Ways to us through relationship. He releases all the “its” through relationship.
The Holy Spirit isn’t a micro-manager of morality. God has fused us with Himself, made us one with Him, but has kept us with feelings, emotions, and ideas because He is not looking to control us; He is looking for us to be partners with Him. Partners that know how to draw from His power and partners that know His will! God wants the World to experience Him through the things that He has created you to do!
You will need wisdom to walk that partnership out, but remember, wisdom is a person we relate with. God wants us to have understanding. Be empowered. Be changed. Be stretched. And He wants to be the Good Teacher that leads us into and through all of that. You are never far from God. But in your mind, you can be very far from God. Your destiny lies at His side. Draw close. He’ll reciprocate.