Spotlight 8/2020: Free and committed until the end

Lifelong freedom through Christ is not a given. Sometimes people have to fight to be able to stay free and keep themselves from being taken captive again. District Apostle Joseph Ekhuya, who lives in Kenya and looks after East Africa, has some enlightening thoughts about this.

Many years ago, I met with a young man who was struggling to understand the meaning of the word sanctification. During our conversation, he told me that he had on his own volition decided that he would use his personal car to drive the Bishop to every divine service. And the Bishop had agreed to the offer. At first, I was very angry with the Bishop, but on a second thought I said to myself: “Let me wait and see how it will turn out.” After two years, I met the young man again and I was amazed at the transformation that he had undergone. He was completely changed. What had happened?

Then I realised that whenever he dropped the Bishop off for the divine service, he also sat in the service waiting for the Bishop. It was during these times that the Bishop skilfully and patiently rubbed into him the truths of the gospel and what really makes free. It had worked. He never became a minister, but he remained faithful and was committed to the Church for the rest of his life.

At the beginning of the year, the Chief Apostle announced the motto that will drive our programmes this year: “Christ makes free”. The Bible verse accompanying this motto was given as Galatians 5: 1, which says: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” It was therefore very clear right from the beginning that the freedom under discussion is our spiritual freedom.

It was the last phrase of the Bible verse that caught my attention: “… and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” I asked myself the question: is it possible for one who has been set free by Christ to once again be entangled in the very yoke that kept him in bondage? I found the answer in the statements of Jesus Himself.

In the gospel according to Matthew, there is an interesting statement. In verses 43–45 of chapter 12 we can read what Jesus said: “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there.” It is not surprising then that the unclean spirits that had lived inside a man in the country of the Gadarenes begged Jesus to allow them to continue their activities, albeit in a herd of pigs (Luke 8: 32).

Remaining in the freedom we received from Jesus is a daily fight. We have been baptised with water and the Spirit and want the house of our heart to be occupied with the Holy Spirit. For then our faith can be strong and sure thanks to the freedom we have received from Christ.

Photo: NAC East Africa

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Joseph Opemba Ekhuya