Personal Growth
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Are You Living Like You’re Free?

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. (Ephesians 1:4-7)

Are you in hock? I was for a long time, but not anymore.

One day Dad came home from work and said, “I’ve got something I want to show you.” So I went out to his truck and watched him tenderly unwrap a double barrel 20 gauge shotgun. He was so proud of it. The way he held it and treated it you would have thought there was a baby inside that blanket. It was sweet. And still is. I was young but old enough to know there wasn’t a lot of extra money—especially to be used on a gun like that.

A young man came into the hardware store a few days earlier and when Dad asked if he could help him, the man said, “I hope you can,” and handed him a pawn ticket. He’d fallen into some hard times and pawned his gun for a pittance. He was given a “redemption ticket” with which he could buy back his gun during an agreed period of time. He wanted Dad to give him some money for that pawn ticket. He made a bargain with Dad that if he didn’t return by a certain date to buy back the ticket Dad could take it to the pawnshop and redeem the shotgun which was now in hock. The young man never returned.

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While that shotgun was in hock it was absolutely useless. The holder of the pawn ticket had no right to use it. The pawnbroker had no right to use it, and he couldn’t sell it to anyone else either. 

Are you in hock? There are only two ways to answer that—either you are,  or you were. Because the devil has put us ALL in hock—made us absolutely useless by polluting the image of God in us and clouding the eternity God put into our hearts (see Ephesians 2:1-3,Genesis 1:26Ecclesiastes 3:11).  I’m not saying that people in hock can’t do anything good. They can. But what they do just doesn’t matter for eternity—which is where we are all going.

But God bought us back, just like my Dad “bought back” that gun. He redeemed us, restored us to usefulness, freed us up to live out our design and purpose— as children of the Most High God.

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins Ephesians 1:7.

I’ll ask you again, are you in hock? You don’t have to stay there. Accept God’s gift of freedom. If you are not in hock—don’t live like you are as I did for far too long. Run out of the devil’s pawnshop and breathe in God’s freedom, and “praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son” (Ephesians 1:6).

The first thing we need to do each morning when we awake is to remember who we are: sons and daughters of God, joint heirs with Christ, members of the church—the Body of Christ. And then cry out—I’m redeemed; I’M FREE!

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I am a Carrollton native and graduate of Carrollton High and Atlanta Christian College. After 46 years, Linda, the love of my life, and I moved back to Carrollton to join the Southern Hills Christian Church team where my son Shannon is lead pastor. I have two sons, Shannon and Brandon, one daughter, Kristen Ebensberger, and 11 grandchildren.

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