This message was shared by Susan Dunn at a WOW31 Meeting on 8 Dec 2012 in Singapore.
Who was Mary Magdalene?
Luke 8:1-3 (NKJV)
Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance.
- She was part of the discipleship team.
- She was a provider for Jesus’ ministry.
- She was present at the crucifixion.
John 19:25 (NKJV) – “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.”
- She was present at the burial
Mark 15:46-47 (NKJV) – “Then he bought fine linen, took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen. And he laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock, and rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses observed where He was laid.”
- She witnessed the resurrection
Mark 16:9-11 (NKJV) – “Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.”
Why was Magdalene so special? Why did she love Jesus so much?
I am of the opinion that she probably loved Jesus more than the other disciples because she was there when He was captured while most of his disciples ran away.
What happened to Mary that made her totally devoted to her Saviour? The Bible did not say much about Mary’s background. We do not know where she came from or what she did. But based on Luke 8:1-3, we can deduce that she was a person under strong bondages of physical illness, mental torment and spiritual oppression.
She was a woman who was definitely forgiven much and hence she loved much.
She found her freedom and she knew she would not and could not go back to her past. Hence, she hung on to her ‘Freedom’ vehemently and would not lose sight of Him.
What about us?
Now that we are in Christ and were once set free? Are we totally free? Have we gone back to our bondages?
The Bible says in John 8:36, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”
Luke 4: 18-19
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
Jesus came so that we can be set free! To Jesus, when you received Him, you have received the POWER to be totally free!
It is now up to us to exercise the power and continue to STAY free. And to stay free, we need to lay aside all hindrances.
Laying Aside Hindrances
Hindrances are “everything that troubles us, whether spiritual or temporal”.
Hindrances are “every weight, that is, all inordinate (excessive, not regulated) affection and concern for the body, and the present life and world. Inordinate care for the present life, or fondness for it, as a dead weight upon the soul, that pulls it down when it should ascend upwards, and pulls it back when it should press forward, it makes duty and difficulties harder and heavier than they would be.”
How can I lay aside the hindrances in my life?
Let’s look at what the Bible says in Romans 6:3-14 (The Message):
“That’s what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we’re going in our new grace-sovereign country. Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin’s every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did. That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!—into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God.”
Hence, it is clear that to lay aside hindrances, we need to do the following:
a. We need to identify with Christ
We need to understand, declare and embrace the fact that we now belong to God.
We need to understand, declare and embrace the fact that God now has the total and final authority in our lives.
We need to understand, declare and embrace the fact that we now carry the Power of God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to make the right choices.
b. We need to make Right Choices
Deu 30:19 says “… I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;”
A theologian named J. Blunck said, “Man’s relentless efforts to take himself in hand, however he attempts it, lead to the greatest bondage in which man misses what he was meant to be. Man’s true freedom does not consist of the unfettered power to direct his life…. It lies in life with God, lived as it was originally intended by God for man. He only gains this as he denies himself. Paradoxically, the free man does not belong to himself. He belongs to him who has set him free.”
So what choices do we have now?
To me, the choices are clear and there are only two – To be slaves to Sin or to be slaves to God! There is no neutral ground in our Christian walk.
Rom 6:22 – “But now having been set free from sin, and having become SLAVES of God, you have been your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.”
Rom 6:18 – “And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”
True freedom is not the release or abandonment from all restraint. It is definitely not the license to indulge in our sinful nature.
True freedom is the freedom to “serve one another in love.” It is possible to do so because the Holy Spirit enables us to act in ways that are contrary to the natural impulses of our sinful nature.
When we walk by the Spirit, we are released from the old nature that produces hatred, jealousy, fits of rage, envy, and such. We are liberated to be loving, patient, kind, faithful and good.
Today, will you choose to be truly free?
I certainly hope you do because that is the quickest and only way out of depression, anxiety, bitterness and hopelessness.
If you choose to be truly free, you are choosing to be slaves unto God and His righteousness.
Jesus was a Slave of God
How we choose to run the race determines our quality of life, and whom or what we choose to run toward determines our peace and joy.
So let us consider this:
1. Who are we running our race for in this life?
For ourselves -> Consequence -> Slavery to Self
For the approval of others -> Consequence -> Slavery to Others
For God and His glory -> Consequence -> Slavery to God
2. How do we choose to run the race?
Enslaved to Self -> Result -> Fear, uncertainty, stress, bondages etc.
Enslaved to God -> Result -> Love, peace, joy, etc.
So, what kind of God are we enslaved to?
Let’s look at the names of God and see what kind of Master we are enslaving ourselves to:
The Bible says He is
1. Jehovah Nissi: He is the Lord of the battle and He will be our victory
2. Jehovah Shalom: He will give us peace in our days of trouble
3. Jehovah Shammah: He will go with us and go ahead of us in every situation
4. Jehovah Rapha: He will heal our body when we are sick and comfort our hearts when we are hurt
5. Jehovah Jireh: He will provide for us whatever we need – physically, emotionally and spiritually.
In another words, our well-being becomes His responsibility when we become His slave!
How can our future not be brighter when we enslave ourselves to such an awesome Master? Why are we still trying to make everything work on our own when He is waiting to do them through us and for us!
Let’s wise up and be the true WOW (Woman of Wisdom) for God and allow Him to be the ultimate Master in our lives.
John 8:31-32 (NKJV) – “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”
True freedom is realizing that apart from Christ, I am not free!