Jesus, Not Politicians, Is the Author of True Liberty and Deliverance

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

There were politics in Jesus’ day as it is today.

Jesus was not a political figure, carried to and fro by the whims of the people. He said what needed to be said knowing that it would bring opposition against Him. Jesus could not have helped people then or now had he been a political figure. Unlike the promises made by politicians, Jesus did not necessarily come to remove everyone’s circumstances. What He did come to do was to change our hearts and minds about our circumstances.

No doubt that our society and world endure what are seemingly intractable problems to solve. All around the world it’s the same song. From poverty, racism, addictions, corruption, violence and other issues, we do our best to solve and eradicate the problems. We create campaigns, marches and movements to bring awareness and arouse action. We work to inform and shape policies in hopes to break what has bound us. Yet, with these activities and more, many problems remain. In all of mankind’s intellect, reasoning and can-do spirit, we are unable to completely eradicate problems.

It is in our nature to seek answers; to solve problems. We seek to fix and make sense out of. We desire to bring justice to unjust situations. We desire to bring relief to those ailed. This is all very good.

Yet, for those in Christ Jesus, we understand that even such situations exist for God’s purposes. Purposes we may not understand but trust that God is sovereign even in times of suffering and wickedness. What was meant for evil God can make for our good.

Jesus told us that we would have trouble. It’s inescapable. As sure as we’ll face problems, Jesus also assured us of this: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NIV)

So how should we respond? Sit on our hands and wait for Christ’s return? No. While we should not divorce the pragmatic from the biblical in addressing issues, and while we should keep our hands to the plow (Luke 9:62) and not grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6:9), most importantly, we pray for people to invite Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit to change their heart and mind. This is where change begins. Jesus, we pray for your love and light to transform.

Yes, Lord. We need change. Without you, true change is elusive.

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In desiring to help, we must prepare mindsets. This is where the fight actually begins. If mindsets are enslaved they need to be set free. A freed and renewed mind begins to write a different story other than the previous narrative of enslavement they thought they were held to. People can’t change the story until they receive new information. God has given us His Truth to lay down a better track to replace the one they’ve been playing. We have been called to set the captives free, to set free those who are oppressed (Luke 4:18). Christ is the true author of liberty and deliverance. The truth will set you free (John 8:32). 

Pray for the Body of Christ to be a light wherever God has planted us; to boldly and lovingly share His Truth. Man’s version of liberty and deliverance is limited and constantly needs revising as it falls short of true freedom. The world can offer good solutions by putting its traditional applications on situations but WE, the Church carry within us the best and true solution: Jesus. Then we will indeed see chains broken.

-Nicole

 

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The Deception of Progress: A Harmful Illusion

“If you want to change the direction of our country, vote.”  And in doing so, what are we advancing?

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (liberty).  (2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV)

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

In referencing the above New Testament scripture, I’m attempting to draw the clearest line, paint-by-numbers directions for this world to obtain true freedom instead of the counterfeit freedoms they currently pursue.

Liberty: the pursuit of it underpins our democratic society. Indeed, voting is important to register your voice in how our government should operate in serving our interests and preserving our freedoms.

But when such exercises compromise or disregard God’s laws for the sake of “progress,” we’ve not grasped the unprotected turmoil we’ve therefore brought upon ourselves. We’ve grieved God and incurred His judgments.

So why are many baffled by the decay our country lies in today?

“The irony of America’s quest for happiness lies in the fact that she succeeded more obviously than any other nation in making life “comfortable,” only to run into larger incongruities of human destiny by the same achievements by which it escaped the smaller ones. Our very success in this enterprise has hastened the exposure of its final limits.” – Reinhold Niebuhr, The Irony of American History (1952)

Though Reinhold Niebuhr, an American theologian, ethicist, commentator on politics and public affairs, and professor at Union Theological Seminary, penned this quote 64 years ago, his message still rings truth today.

America has sought greater liberties to make people “comfortable” with their immoral lifestyle choices. Ironically, in pursuing such liberty, perfect harmony is yet to be achieved.

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The irony is that the immoral have gotten the liberties they’ve pushed for, but oh, it comes with so much more. The disappointment of the “so much more” is concealed until you get the package home, unwrap it, celebrate its novelty and then realize it is bundled with unwelcomed outcomes.

The duplicitous nature of such progress masquerades itself as a solution to accommodate our self-interests—absent of critical thinking, absent of considering the future ramifications. The only advancement in this type of progress is to advance gross deception within the recipient. This is a harmful illusion. The lesson in this is be careful what you ask for. You just might get it and other things along with it you didn’t ask for. This is the trickery of ungodly progress.

How Do We Obtain Authentic Liberty? 

“Liberation is not found in escaping or manipulating what God requires of us, but it is found by embracing and being faithful to God’s ideals.”- Charles “Chuck” Colson and Nancy Pearson, How Now Shall We Live (1999)

In Niebuhr’s words, our culture has hastened the exposure of the limits of what worldly progress/liberty can bring. There are far too many deceived in these last days.

Lord Jesus, we pray that those deceived would have the veil removed to clearly see that their freedom rests in You alone. May those pursuing ungodly progress be quickened in their hearts by hearing Your Word and be led to repent and recognize that true progress rests in our obedience to You, rooted in love for You. Jesus, You alone remain our intervention and deliverance from temporal and eternal ruin. Life in You is how we transform our country and our very lives.

Are you advancing decay or true liberty through Christ Jesus? The integrity of God and His Word are impeccable. Be very clear: God will not violate His integrity nor His Word. Those who seek liberties outside of His will are grossly deceived.

Why Are We Telling You This? 

At Voices Against the Grain, we present God’s Word to: 1- bring clarity and restoration so you can navigate successfully out of and away from deception, 2- to educate and equip you in God’s truth for abundant living—so you can truly live free as God designed, 3- to encourage you, and last, 4- to love you as we’re telling you the truth. Our platform messages, primarily geared for the Believer, also serve to educate the unbeliever.

We are grateful for our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ who are advancing God’s Kingdom alongside us and within their communities. Thank you for exposing deception with truth and transforming one heart at a time in the love of Jesus Christ, so that those transformed are empowered by the Holy Spirit to help transform others. This is progress.

-Nicole

Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here.