Freedom from a Fishbowl
They had never watched a movie together. All through high school, through dating, and engagement, though they spent much time together, they had never watched a single movie together. Now here they were on their honeymoon, and as they clicked on the remote, the movie “Truman Show” just happened to be on. It’s a movie starring Jim Carrey about a man that is kept inside of a make believe world, being filmed as a reality show, but made to believe his life is his own. When the movie ended she turned to her husband and said “that movie was my life.”
Jinger Duggar was constantly on TV from the time she was 10 years old until she was 20. Her family was featured on a reality series showing what life is like with a large family, made up of 19 children. Their family is vocal about their Christian faith, and saw the show as a means of sharing that with the world. Her life was as much of a fishbowl as it could be. Though she was under constant observation, she found her own identity apart from the show, and that identity was in keeping the rules. This obsession with rule keeping led to her life being controlled by fear.
In her book Becoming Free Indeed, she talks about what she learned about true freedom. “Freedom is not unlimited options. And it’s not obedience to man-made rules… the grace of God is helping me to understand that ‘if the Son has set you free, you will be free indeed!’ (John 8:36).”
As I mentioned in last week’s letter, our theme for the church this year is “Free and Fearless.” If you’ve struggled with finding freedom from legalism and fear, then you will greatly benefit from reading her book. The thing I loved most about her story, which blogger Tim Challies highlighted in his review of the book, was that her rejection of legalism didn’t cause her to also reject Christ, but rather moved her closer to Him. It’s a refreshing story in an age when “deconstructing” faith is all the rage.
My prayer is that Valley View will always be a place where we are pursuing Christ first and foremost. Not legalism, and not empty freedom from all constraints, but a true freedom in Christ that leads us to boldly proclaim the Gospel without fear all over Southwest Louisville!
A few other things to mention this week:
- One of my favorite Bibles for young kids is the Jesus Storybook Bible. The Kindle version is on sale for $3.99 right now.
- Many of Wayne Grudem’s books have been deeply discounted by Zondervan. Now would be a great time to pick up his hugely influential Systematic Theology. I’ve known many who have simply read a few pages a day as part of their morning devotion time and found it deeply rewarding and meaningful. I know the book title is a little intimidating, but Grudem has an engaging and accessible writing style that makes theology relevant and applicable. You can also listen to him teach through the entire book with his Sunday School class on his website.
- Last week I mentioned my struggles with procrastination in college. After that, I ran across this article on how rejecting procrastination is one way to love those around us. “Being productive is not first about increasing my status or wealth or reputation, but about doing good to others which in turn brings glory to God. He is glorified in those actions I take to benefit others; He is not glorified in my selfishness or my failure to love. If I am committing my life to those things that matter most, procrastination is a missed opportunity to love.”
- If you find yourself in a perpetual loop of procrastination, you might simply be over committed. Check out this simple “Pace of Life” self assessment to gauge where you are.
Looking forward to seeing you this Sunday as we continue in our study of the book of John and wrap up chapter six.