Ok, I need to air some dirty laundry here. I have something I need to admit to you all.
I, not so secretly, love Christian rock from the 1980s and 90s.
Yes, the music sounds very similar to secular bands like Depeche Mode, Motley Crue, or Run DMC. Sometimes the theological message of the songs is, well, way off base. And many times those artists weren’t even really Christians, they were simply cashing in on the latest craze.
But bands like Daniel Amos (hands down my absolute favorite band of all time), Adam Again, the 77s, Mad at the World, 20/Twenty, Crumbacher, Rage of Angels, Common Bond, the Altar Boys, Bride, Code of Ethics, D-boy, the Dynamic Twins, Farrell and Farrell, Jacob’s Trouble, Jerusalem, Leviticus, One Bad Pig, and yes, even Petra are all still on my playlists to this day.
I don’t even listen to Hillsong or Bethel or any of those top 20 Christian artists today.
So why do I bring all this up?
In 2017, one of my favorite Christian bands from that era reunited to record an album.
Roger and Randy Rose, otherwise known as Mad at the World, put out a new album in 2017 entitled Hope. The album goes back to their earlier sounds of being very Depeche Mode-esque. They cover a lot of songs that deal with leaving behind our oppressions, addictions, and hang-ups in life.
The underlying theme of the album is that we have hope in a Savior, Jesus Christ.
One of the songs really struck me tonight.
It is called You are Free.
One of the key points in this song is that once we accept Christ, we are free. Jesus died for all the sins that we have ever done or will ever do, once and for all.
But Satan continues to tell us lies, claiming that we will never be free. The problem is that we believe those lies.
Roger Rose sings in this song the words of Isaiah are repeated as a benediction of sorts as he quotes Luke 4:18-19:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Isaiah (quoted by Luke, quoted by Roger) uses the word free twice in this series of verses. It is the exact same word used twice which literally translates to “deliverance.”
So what are we delivered from?
Many would say sin.
But that isn’t entirely true.
Even the most well-meaning Christians still sin.
No, what we are delivered from is the power of sin.
Sin can no longer control our appetites. It can no longer keep us slave.
But I know so many people who are living as if they were never delivered. Some of them are close to me. Some are just people that God has placed on my heart without knowing who they are or the details of their oppression.
To the person who is struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol or pornography, there is deliverance in Christ and accountability found in community.
To the person who is struggling at work, fighting for their job daily, God has freed you of the concern over other people’s views. You are not a slave to them, you are free in Christ. Seek first the kingdom of God and then you will find all you seek.
To the person who has been fired from their job, God has given you a freedom to pursue Him. Seek Him during this transition and understand that God will take care of you. The Creator of the universe adorns the sparrows and they don’t have any needs that God has not met.
To the person who is dying of a deadly disease, know that now is the time to finish well. Take this time to celebrate the blessings God has given you in your family and friends. Make your legacy a desire to see God’s Name proclaimed for years as yours diminishes through the years.
To those who have sinned and have been found out, know that the truth is freeing. It may lead to short term pain and significant change, but eventually God will show you the way that leads to heaven as you mature and learn how to live as Christ desires.
To those who have sinned and are doing well at hiding that sin, you also need to know that the truth will set you free. The more you fight repentance that more energy it takes from you and the more you drift from God. Once you repent and come clean, you will find that freedom waits for you. It is your choice.
To person who just feels like he or she can’t go on and wants to take their life, know that freedom comes in living. If you give in to the sin of suicide, you will never know the person God has created you to be. You are beautiful. You are not a mistake. You are a beloved child of God and there is a community of believers who love you and want you to know that.
To those who have been hurt by others or called stupid or fat or bad, know that those words can only define you if you allow them to. God created in you someone special. God created you to be you, no matter the circumstance. Don’t allow people define your purpose, allow God to define it.
To the single parent who is trying everything just to provide a decent life for their children, know that God sees your sacrifice, and, while you might feel like life is a constant closing door, your children will understand your sacrifice and they will rise up to call you blessed.
To the divorced parent who doesn’t have custody of the children, simply be there for them as much as you can. Allow them to see all your bumps and bruises and teach them where to follow in your footsteps and where not to.
To those who are alone, take this opportunity to find your purpose in Christ. You are never alone, God has promised not leave you nor forsake you.
To everyone else that I have left out, God has a purpose and a plan for you. You simply need to know that and follow that.
You are free.
Accept the freedom that comes in Christ.
Don’t believe Satan’s lies.
Believe your freedom and live a life that exemplifies it.