YA Bonus – Freedom isn’t all about you

Someone next to you needs to hear your voice.

Perhaps you don’t already know this, so I will speak it plainly:

Someone needs you.

You know people that I don’t know. You sit beside people that I do not sit beside. You have influence in the lives of people around you, whether you know it or not.

When you speak hope, hope shines.

When you speak Life, Life shines.

When you speak Christ, Christ shines.

There are people in this world who will never open a Bible, and people who may hear the name of Jesus but do not know the freedom He offers, the power of the resurrection to lift guilt and shame and all the junk of life.

Your pressures and struggles are different than mine. Youth and young adults have pressures and struggles that I can imagine, I can talk about from my experience, but ears aren’t quite as open to my voice in the past tense. You have the benefit of the present. You have the benefit of, “I’ve been there. I am there. We’re in it together.”

In today’s podcast we’ll discuss some unique yokes of young adulthood and why “in it together” matters more than you might think.

YA Bonus – Freedom to Speak Up


If we’re honest, this life feels weighty.

You feel a little bit of this when you’re a kid – families have struggles, people we love pass away, and other kids aren’t always kind.

It starts to feel heavier as a teen – choices aren’t as easy, we struggle with right and wrong, decisions aren’t all up to our parents and teachers anymore, we begin to see that God is calling us to our own lives, our own faith, our own paths.

Then adulthood crashes in and you suck in your breath. What the heck?! Where did all this junk come from? The world is falling apart, families are more messed up than you ever knew, and life is hard. There are literally decisions to be made every day, every moment it seems and they matter, they really matter.

First, take heart. There’s grace. God always has grace for us. More than that, He gives us grace packaged in the form of freedom.

Galatians 5:1 –

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Paul challenges us to simply live in the freedom we’ve been given.

Each week, in our Chasing Freedom YA podcast we’ll look through a passage and find some freedom we may have been missing.

This week – Freedom from Apathy, Freedom to Speak Up

All that weightiness. It can crash in like waves against a rocky crag and it’s so easy to curl up into what’s easy and what feels simpler – tuning out – rather than tuning in and letting God do His thing.

It feels easier to only care about the moment, only care about ourselves, and only care about the fun stuff, but God is calling us to something bigger, something bolder in this life, something better.

Let’s look through 1 Timothy 4:4-14 and find out more about this beautiful life and freedom in Christ that we have been called to.

Your voice matters. Please use it.

You are free – speak up!

Question of the Week: Where can I speak up and speak hope?

Coffee, tea, and Jesus please

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How do you feel about coffee? I tend toward ardent fan. I’m totally on the bandwagon for the coffee memes that proclaim it’s wonderfulness.

“Come here you big beautiful cup of coffee and lie to me about all we’re going to get done today.”

“All this girl needs today is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus.”

“First I drink the coffee, then I do the things.”

Perhaps you are more Captain Picard, and a little less Captain Janeway. Is tea your bag? What gets you going in the morning? What ignites your energy for the day?

What wakes you up?

God tells us that we all need something to wake us up. We all were once sleeping through life, but He had a better plan. A better way.

Metaphorically, the Bible talks about sin as our sleep drug. Look at Proverbs 6:9-11.

How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
    When will you arise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest,
11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
    and want like an armed man.

Sin makes us sleepy. It closes our eyes to what is right and good. It’s surprisingly cozy and comfortable, lulling us into a complacency that leads to more sin. We love comfort so much that the light around us dims and we don’t even notice until we are standing in utter darkness.

This kind of thing happens when we disrespect our husbands and lash out at our families. We feel better for an instant, but then the darkness comes.

It happens when we skip church or avoid our Bible study group over and over again, for other things that sound fun or for the busyness of life. It feels good for a second to sleep in or not have to chit chat, but then the darkness comes.

It happens when we have a juicy conversation with the girls at work. It feels good to talk about someone else and know that your own shame is not the topic of the meaty conversation. It can’t hurt her if she doesn’t know, right? Then the darkness comes in.

It happens when we roll our eyes at our husband’s attempt at communication. We slam a cabinet and walk out of the room to get his attention. Then the darkness comes in.

Sin doesn’t wear a bright sign that says beware. Instead, it wraps us up slowly like a cozy blanket and then attempts to strangle us at the last minute, when we’re all tucked in.

Ephesians 5:7-14 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture and it’s about being awake. It is practical and bears the truth of the relationship between light, darkness, sleeping and being Awake Children of God –

Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light(for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,
    and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

At one time you were darkness…

Can you hear the grace? We are no longer darkness! We are light in the Lord. That means we are Daytime and Sunlight. We are not third shift, 3am, sluggish and sleepy children of God, trapped in sin.

We are Awake.

How do you wake up in the middle of a gossip session, especially when it feels so good? How do you wake up when the words of disrespect pour out of your mouth?

Do not become partners. (v.7)

Some people were meant to be avoided like the plague. This is not you being hurtful or failing to eat with tax collectors. This is you knowing your own limit. This is caring for others, but knowing when you aren’t at the place to resist the temptation. Don’t make your closest friends those who partner with darkness.

Don’t speak of shameful things. (v.12)

I know it’s the worst when everyone else knows what happened in the royal marriage that was shameful and catastrophic (Sorry royals, I know you have kept the marriages pretty stellar as of late), but if it’s someone else’s shame, it’s not our business to speak of. This goes for the divorce of the couple next door, or the mental illness that befell someone’s child. If it’s not our story, it’s theirs to share.

Let Christ Shine. (v. 14)

Brightness is His name. When we let go of what we want, the light of His glory is so bright that we can’t help but live Awake. Let the Spirit out, my friends! Let Him out. Tea and coffee, even a triple mocha espresso double skinny dark, have nothing on a real and living God inside of us. Pray – Lord shine through me. Let my life shine of only You and always You.

Ephesians 5:16, just a couple verses later leaves us with a good Awake reminder –

…making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

Our time here is so short. I want to live Awake. I am Awake in Him. Why would I want to go back to that darkness, even for a brief stroll? Gag. No, thank you.

Awake, O sleeper…

Awake, precious Child…

Awake, daughter, brother, friend…

Grab your giant mug, inhale the scent of forgiveness, take a moment in prayer, and let Christ Shine.

Exploration:

What gets you going in the morning? Coffee, tea, exercise, more sleep? 😉

What does your morning routine look like?

What do you do in when gossip or disrespect from your own mouth seems imminent? Do you have a way to tamp it down and let light out instead?

How can you let Christ shine today?