In our desire to exercise our freedoms as a nation, Christ-followers often allow that societal knowledge to overflow into the freedom that Jesus brings and I would encourage you to be very cautious of that. Freedom in the United States is a personal independence to do whatever we so choose within the boundaries of the laws that exist. Our American freedom can often become a license to treat people differently because of race, creed, class or gender. This freedom that we experience can lead us to make poor decisions or good ones that can bring us together. That type of freedom is great and I am grateful for it but there is another freedom that is universal, echoes throughout time and space and can be yours today if you would trust and believe that Jesus is The Christ.
Our church is about teaching others to celebrate and utilize the freedom that only Jesus brings. Jesus has come to set the captives free, seek and save those who are lost, redeem the outcast and so much more! In this day and age, people exercise their freedoms in ways that show a broken heart and soul that is yearning for something so much greater than themselves (Gal 5:13). Without Christ's sacrifice on the cross for you and I, we are slaves to sin, unable to do what is right and true. Christ sets us free from the penalty and power of sin (John 8:36).
When Kevin and I were asking God to give us a name for His church in Chicago, He placed FREEDOM in my soul like a tattoo. I couldn't stop thinking about it, praying about it and talking with anyone who would hear about the freedom that we receive in Christ. As we submit to Christ, sin loses its power over us — Christ's power consumes and redeems us. As we decide to trust and follow Christ, our sinful disciplines, thoughts, and attitudes lose their control. Guilt, shame, worthlessness, lack of identity disappears, and peace of mind reigns supreme. Holy habits become the new normal in your life. That's freedom — true freedom!
Larry Fowler wrote, "Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but the ability to do what we ought."
I love our church’s name, Freedom Hope Church, but I truly love the “hope” part of our name. Hope is so important. Hope is something that we all understand. Hope is something that we all have and want. We all need hope. We all have hope for things on this earth. We hope for things like relationships, wealth, justice, or possessions. Sometimes these hopes can make our lives seem whole, but other times these hopes are empty. Hope is the basis for most superhero movies, which are incredibly popular right now! These movies are so popular because we all want to see good overcome evil. We want to see the hero overcome adversity. It gives us hope that we will be able to overcome the adversities in our own lives.
However, there is a difference between an earthly hope and a heavenly hope. There is a difference between a hope for a better future now, and a hope in eternity. A heavenly hope is rooted in Jesus and the feat that He accomplished by defeated sin, death, and hell. Our hope in Jesus is crucial when things are tough. It is a hope that is true, no matter what is going on in our lives. When our lives feel dashed on the rocks, the hope that we have in Jesus is what keeps us going. When times are great, our hope in eternity with Jesus is something to shout about! The beauty of this eternal hope is that it never fails.
Lastly, let me leave you with this thought. I have been listening to the song “Hope is the Anthem” by Switchfoot on their album Where the Light Shines Through. The chorus of the song says this:
My heartbeat, my oxygen
My banner, my home
My future, my song
Your hope is the anthem
Your hope is the anthem of my soul
This chorus is a beautiful description of who Jesus is, and what Jesus does. Jesus is our supporter, our cheerleader. He prepares a place for us in heaven, and will one day come back to get us. Hope in Jesus means that no matter what our situation looks like, Jesus is always with us. Let Jesus be your praise in the amazing times, and the one you cry to when times are tough. Let hope be the anthem of your soul.
Written by Dom Martin and Kevin Hammell