Gracious Freedom

1 Timothy 1
1 Corinthians 5
1 Corinthians 11
Matthew 18
Hebrews 12:5

Grazing Horses by forhisglory, on Pix-O-Sphere
Over the last year I have noticed something about some of the so called 'movements' of believers. The term 'emergent' become widly popular rather quickly, but it was monopolized by people who saw an opportunity to capitalize on the notion and gather the people into their institutions under their control. It became another money making dictatorship among many churches. Then there's the term, 'organic church'. The organic way of gathering seems to now be taking on the same pattern. Then there's the free believer. These are three lifestyles of worship among those who are just flat out tired of dictatorship style churches that don't offer grace and freedom to follow Christ as individuals. Yet time and time again there is someone or some group that tries to lasso the people in under a hierarchy system. This is why I have a hard time explaining where I am in my walkabout with God. I find that once we get settled into an idea, a path, a direction with a group, things begin to get under too much control..or perhaps sometimes totally out of control.

I have seen so many believers argue about theology, but then I've seen people have respectful dialogue without usurping authority over another. They speak openly and allow for others to share their thoughts and hearts on a matter. They learn from one another without disrespecting them.

Some try to say that we adamantly need to live by the Law and some say 'no more Law' because we live by faith. When one walks by faith with love and mutual integrity and respect for one another there is no need for the Law. When we walk in the Spirit we are governed by Agape.

But when the line of mutual respect is crossed time and time again, with no repentance, humility, or apology then the Law becomes their schoolmaster yet again. But only for a season. The law is not there to keep the people in a pen, tied up to a rope and forced to run in circles. It's there for correction.

Once the correction is given, when they are reminded of the schoolmaster and the consequences for their actions are clearly seen, if they show repentance and humility, then the law ceases yet again and grace emerges and mercy is given.

The Law should never be used as an abusive tool to control the people.

On the flip side of this, being free does NOT mean that we are to cross the line of mutual respect and abuse people with the flesh. Some will argue that they can, because their sin is covered by Christ's blood. Sure they are free to make their decisions, however are they walking by faith in love and mutual respect for others?

When a person crosses the line against another there are natural consequences in this life time. Are they still covered by the blood? Absolutely they are! That does not mean that they will be able to continue in a destructive pattern of life against others. At some point, people will grow weary of abuse and speak up. They will speak up about that line that was crossed and put their foot down and say enough is enough. An abusive believer will see boundaries go up that they didn't see before. When that takes place they will either recognize that boundary and respect it because of love, or they will reject it and rebel. Much like a wild stallion being put back in the pen. They might even lash out when they see that boundary go up. It's not easy to accept that the pen is rising up again and the schoolmaster is on his way back in for correction and training. On his way to remind them that they have crossed the line into another person's arena.

It is there they must stay until they can respectfully walk by faith again and not cross into another person's arena. Or they might buck that schoolmaster and bolt out to the hills. They certainly may do so. The Master is not going to force them and whip them into that pen. The Master offers freedom and if that person chooses the hills, they choose to be away from walking by faith in the love and integrity of the community of believers. So let the world have it's way with them. Keep in mind the world is harsher than the schoolmaster is. 
the horse at camp by nancysnook, on Pix-O-Sphere
None of us desire to see someone run to the hills in their flesh and reject the schoolmaster's correction. We desire to see the flesh be put under submission to the Spirit and walk in love, integrity, and mutual respect for one another so we can be a community of love.

When the world has had it's way with the rebel and they realize that walking in love and respect is a safer and easier yoke, they can humbly come back to the pasture and graze once again in peace and harmony. Father always accepts them back when the time is right.

So while I use the term 'free believer' I do not follow any pattern of hierarchy, I don't always agree with other free believers, and I cringe at the thought of being labeled 'the same as' another free believers when they're acting out across the boundary of love. One wild stallion does not set the precedence over all of the community.

And while being a free believer has no human hierarchy, the Body is a community and each member of Christ's Body has a unique design for the serenity of the fold. There are some that are called out to help set the boundary up when the line has been crossed. And call upon the schoolmaster to not only lovingly, yet firmly correct, but also to protect the others.

When a community rejects this divinely appointed pattern from Father then they are choosing to be a pack of wild stallions on their own rather than a fold that walks by faith, in love, and in respect for one another and Christ.

I'm not a wild stallion and most certainly do not want to roam with others who aren't walking in love, by faith, and in his grace and mercy. His pasture is safe and free. The hills are trecherous and without real community. They are free to roam if they wish. But that's not my idea of freedom.

I choose the freedom that is relational and restful. I'm not pointing my finger and trying to make one lifestyle right and the other wrong. I'm simply stating the difference between the two lifestyles and people are certainly free to make their choices.
Horses in a Field by forhisglory, on Pix-O-Sphere

My freedom is a walkabout with God among the fold. The pasture is vast and I can go where He leads me because He leads me safely while walking in love and respect for others. For those who desire to run like a wild stallion away from the community you are free to go and free to come back when you walk in love by faith. Peace be with you.

Feel free to ask questions. I encourage dialogue in the comment section below.

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Anonymous at: August 18, 2010 at 12:26 PM said...

I enjoy reading your thoughts and processes pondering freedom in Christ.

I decided if I was not welcome to serve, minister, pray and do as I felt led and had been all these years as a believer, I would do so on my own and in the community where I was welcomed with open arms! That's where the Lord leads and wanted me and the best place to be His hands and feet for others.I think that is freeing in so many ways.

I love fellowship with other believers but we sure do not need to attend the same 'building' and if those leading in that building are restricting people out of power and horses, RUN!
I've learned so much from iron sharpening iron with other believers from different places.

Love your horse analogy by the way! Our Ranch Roping Fellowship Group uses horse/ranching analogies like that too.


{ Sisterlisa } at: August 18, 2010 at 10:29 PM said...

Thank you Marie. I'd like to hear more about those analogies. I learn so much from Father through observing animals and other parts of nature.

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