I have a touch of claustrophobia, so I don’t like being in tight spaces. In my college days I went spelunking (exploring caves) and as a young homeowner I didn’t mind squeezing into the crawl space under my house, but today I have less tolerance for anything that makes me feel confined. The thought of being inserted into a full-body MRI makes me shudder.
No one likes to feel stuck, but that’s how it feels to be enslaved by a bad habit, confined to a joyless career, locked in a loveless marriage, trapped in a malfunctioning body, suffocated by an unhealthy relationship, or enslaved by hopelessness and despair.
God offers something better. David told the Lord, “You . . . have set my feet in a spacious place” (Psalm 31:8). The King James Version translates this verse by saying God has “set my feet in a large room,” and The Message version says God “gave me room to breathe.” Believers are sometimes stereotyped as narrow and repressive, boxing people in and burdening them with religious obligations, but Scripture points in the opposite direction. It’s the Lord who gives us breathing room. Jesus said, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36, NIV).
Pointing Toward Freedom
Evangelism gets a bad rap. If you talk about faith in Christ, you risk being considered invasive and manipulative. Who are you to push your ideas on others? But Christ doesn’t call us to share our faith because we consider ourselves somehow morally superior or because we want to win arguments. “Christ’s love compels us” (2 Corinthians 5:14) to share our faith with gentleness and respect. We want others we love to enjoy the benefits of reconciliation with God.
If people you care about were stuck in a cave and you discovered a way out, you would do everything you could to free them. If your loved ones were sick, you wouldn’t hesitate to let them know about a cure. If you discovered a new restaurant that serves delicious food, you would gladly tell others about it.
When Christians are at our best, we don’t share our faith to be pushy or to exert power over others; we’re pointing them toward freedom—trying to help them get unstuck. We want to introduce them to the Redeemer who set our feet in a spacious place so they will enjoy the kind of privileges mentioned in Ephesians chapter one.
A blessed position. To help us appreciate what it means to be saved, the apostle Paul repeatedly used the phrase “in Christ” or “in him.” We enjoy “every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins” (v. 7). We have “put our hope in Christ” (v. 12). We “were included in Christ” (v. 13).
A bright future. We look forward to the time when God’s plan reaches its fulfillment and “all things in heaven and on earth” come together in unity under Christ (v. 10).
A big family. We’re God’s adopted children (v. 5), “God’s possession” (v. 14), sharing together in “the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people” (v. 18).
Christ unlocks the door to a spacious place of marvelous grace. We don’t want anyone to miss out.
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Lesson study ©2018, Christian Standard Media. Print and digital subscribers are permitted to make one print copy per week of lesson material for personal use. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.
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