See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. (Deuteronomy 30:15-20)
For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:13-15)
Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.” (John 8:31-34)
True love exists only in a state of freedom. As human beings seeking oneness with God, our movement toward God, our love of God, is true and authentic only if God does not require anything from us. We must have the choice to seek God or deny God without condition or coercion. We also have to recognize this in our prayer. To ask God to tell us answers or provide direction in ways that do not leave us free to choose the direction of our life, is to ask God to take away the grace of free will. The exercise of free will is the manner in which we develop our conscience, our understanding, and the consciousness of our effect on the world. Knowing our effect on the world and other human beings is an indication of spiritual maturity. This knowledge forms us as human beings. Once we begin to understand our spiritual effect on the world we move toward spiritual maturity. Understanding our own freedom is how we learn to love others freely and without condition.
May we learn to love as you have loved us, God. We sometimes cling to people and things, thinking that our wish to hold on is love. We seek to understand how this happens and we pray that we can release those we love from anything that seeks to control or limit their lives. May we love without needing love in return. May our love lead others and ourselves to freedom. May our experiences teach us how to live freely, and may they teach us to help others live in freedom. May our search for truth lead us to the truth that sets us free. We speak to you with trust that the promises and hope we find in Christ are fulfilled in freedom. Amen.
From The Readings
2012-114 You are learning obedience to a different part of my law. Everything in this law must be understood under the condition of complete freedom. Obedience without freedom encloses and confines the soul. You have had a taste of the burden of the world’s separation from God. This is the burden that you feel when people and their actions do not match with your hope. You will still find more expression of my power in Christ. The world does not know this power. For you to grow into this power, you will acquire celestial perspectives. I am using this word instead of using the word spiritual because there is more than just the spiritual practice and the spiritual understanding; there is also a celestial perspective. You have a glimpse of this perspective when you find a way to embrace humanity. You can see and feel this just as the disciples and the apostles felt this with Jesus. This is why they believed him to be the savior of the world. This celestial perspective comes from faith and trust in love and truth to have dominion. Love and truth do have dominion over the world. It is the world and the people who fight this. The larger perspective embraces the most specific and detailed level while remaining true to the highest or the celestial perspective.