freedom! (no blue face paint required)

Growing up I feared with a passion school report card day. To this day my father has not seen all of my report cards.

Last week my four year old son brought his first report card home from kindergarten.

How is that possible? How do you prepare a report on a four year old who can’t read or write, whose favourite conversation starter is, ‘is sixty bigger than sixty hundred?’

After careful reading I soon discovered the report card serves no purpose other than to evaluate my son’s imagination or creativity. Now I don’t need a teacher to tell me my son has an imagination he told me last night he was going to buy me a new car for my birthday.

By nature all kids are creative. We don’t have to teach kids how to explore, how to ask questions, how to make up stories, it just happens!

I think it’s this creativity in humans which makes us different to all other created beings, and to the rest of creation. The Bible tells us the reason our kids are creative is because they are created in the image and likeness of the God who is ‘creative’. Not just the creator of the universe but the creative of the universe!

God imagined our world before He created it, and when He spoke it came into being.

Obviously, there is a difference between you and me and God. God created out of nothing, we create out of something. We can’t just speak into being things which have never existed before.

As I look at the Church in Australia, particularly as I look at the top level leadership, I fear we are missing something – something we were created to have and experience but something which we are fearful of reclaiming, perhaps even a little embarrassed to mention. Or depending upon the doctrine we believe a little reluctant to pick up on.

I am talking about our imagination or creativity.

You might say. “But I’m not creative”.

Not true. You might not be artistic.

You may not be able to sculpt, dance or play the drums (I can’t even clap in time) and you’ve been tricked into thinking you’re uncreative.

Absolutely untrue! You may be uncoordinated but you’re not uncreative.

Creativity spans the full spectrum of human talent and gifting and all of us have within God-created creativity waiting to be set free.

In Galatians 5 verse 1 Paul writes, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

And verse 13, “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.”

WOW! Did you see it? It is for freedom Christ has set you free.

Despite this amazing proclamation so much of our conversation, our time, our understanding of God is understood in terms of rules and commands and all the don’ts in life.

We get the false impression that God is trying to put us in a box, trying to standardize us yet Paul knew that what Jesus Christ came to do is to set us free.

You are called to be free!

But sadly, as we grow up we make choices which destroy that freedom. Choices which may rob us of our health, our joy, our peace. Choices which rob us of freedom.

What choices have you made that have stolen your freedom?

I’m not just talking about those easy to see sins. But what choices have we made as Christian leaders which have robbed us of taking a fresh approach to something?

What choices have we made that deny or hinder the Church from trying something new, because something, somewhere in our past has urged us to lean towards caution or even a just don’t do it.

A couple of weeks ago I was traveling home from work, a journey for which I have two choices – do I go the old way which is full of traffic lights and a lower speed limit, or the new way which has no traffic lights and a higher speed limit?

Riding my new Ducati I chose the fast way. You can guess what happened, I got stuck behind a slow moving Honda Jazz. I am going crazy behind her, and the traffic isn’t that bad, but it is an unbroken line.

So I sit there muttering in my helmet. People go this way because it is quicker, it is faster than the old way. I look at the car, look at the speedo, look at the double lines, say to myself, “Don’t do it Dean, obey the law today” and finally when we hit the round about and we have the extra lane for 10 metres, I speed around her and get in front.

For a lot of us, we think our spiritual experience is just like getting into the faster lane. We are trying to go full speed into life and zoom we get behind God and we think Jesus starts slowing us down.

The whole world is moving by. They can change lanes, they can have a good time, they can mock you as they go by, because they made that choice and are going faster than you.

Because we wrongly think God is the one who narrows our options rather than expands our freedom. Wrong.

We think God is up there going “No no no when in fact He keeps saying Go go go”.

Maybe you’ve risked, dared or even stepped out and advanced, and you’ve been disappointed.

Maybe you’ve experienced failure and humiliation.

Don’t forget we were created as creative beings.

God frees us to be creative, to lead in creative ways.

Don’t let your past choices hinder you from advancing, don’t allow them to force you to say no, let them free you to go.

What happened to us?

The One who created the intricacies of gravity, the balance of nature, the complexity of human emotions He’s the One in whose image you were created.
Get out of the box. Be free.

~ Dean Thomas

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