LENT: FREE

I️ listened to a podcast the other day on Focus on the Family with guest speaker Gary Thomas and was shocked to hear how many times Jesus walked away. Surprisingly, there are several occurrences (41 to be exact!) where Jesus allowed someone to walk away from him, or he recused himself. The reasons are wide-varied. Sometimes Jesus needed a break, or on other occasions, he recognized that the personal encounter was a waste of time. In the later, he was freed up to go where he could be most productive.

Jesus was not afraid.

Jesus lived so in tune with the mission given to Him by His Heavenly Father that He did not allow anything to get in the way. Also, He wasn’t afraid of rejection but rather knew that not everyone He encountered would be changed.

Recall the story of the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-31? He approaches Jesus to inquire about how to be saved. Lovingly, Jesus gives him this answer (v.21)…

And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

Realizing that this man loved money, Jesus told him the cure for his heart. And yet, unwilling to change, the man walked away disheartened (v.22)…

Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

And then mic-drop…Jesus lets him go.

I️ never picked up on this before. My Christian guilt has always kicked in. Moreover, I️ always thought we had to laboriously toil to reconcile every relationship. But instead, as Jesus shows us in this passage and several others, we should go where we can bear fruit. Ultimately, it comes down to where we should spend our energy since our time here on earth is so short.

Jesus lived above the fray.

He was not consumed with what others thought of him, or whether or not they even liked him. This is hard stuff, y’all. He didn’t care if he was tagged, “Most Popular” in his high school yearbook. Furthermore, He didn’t let acceptance trump his beliefs. He stood up for righteousness. He was brave.

And sometimes…he did it all alone. No one by his side. No one to chime in.

Jesus was free from what others thought of him. This is such a big, monumental truth that is radically life-changing if we allow it to be. So, I’m going to say it again…Jesus was free from what others thought of him.

How can we live this way?

We can be freed up like Jesus when we start believing that we have been fully accepted by God. His acceptance of us is what matters. It matters more than acceptance from our friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, teachers, coaches, and more. Hence, God’s acceptance is all that really matters!

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, Col. 3:12

Remind yourself today…you are chosen, holy and loved. This truth will set you free. Jesus lived freely, saying and doing what He needed to because He knew He was accepted by His Father.

Prayer: Lord, I️ want to be freed up like you. Please help me believe that I️ am fully accepted by you. Chosen. Holy. and Loved. You are a good, good Father whose love is beyond compare! Amen.