OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #285 Free At
The big news is that Ian is settling into life
at college in Fredericton - the Maritime College of Forest Technology. This is a
big change for our family, harder for his parents than for him, I suspect. But
he is doing well, enjoying his classes.
This week we kick off our Sunday school at
church with a gospel illusionist at 9:30. I’ll lead some songs, and we’ll honour
one of our classes for their 100th anniversary. If you are in the Moncton area,
come visit Highfield Baptist. I think we’re going to have a great
Blessings for your week.
“Free, free at last!” This is what I thought as
I watched my mother’s car pull away from the university. It was 1985, and while
she was shedding tears of sadness, I was shedding tears of joy that I was free
to test my wings. I was 17 and ready to explore the world on my own, no longer
under the watchful eyes of my family.
These memories were all too fresh the other day
as we left Ian at his college. What a conflicting ball of emotions I felt. I was
sad that a chapter in our lives was drawing to a close. Routines that included
Ian at home would change, and I can’t walk this part of the journey with him.
“Suck it up,” I told myself. “You’re not the first parent to go through this.”
So, there was sadness.
Strangely, a small bit of jealousy was part of
the mix. Here were all these young kids just starting out on their adventures.
All their hopes and dreams are so fresh. Why is the beginning of the adventure
always the most exciting part? I like where my adventure has taken me thus far,
but there is something exciting about being at the beginning. Ah, but I
I was, and am, nervous for Ian. Is he ready for
the stress and pressure of student life? And, how will he handle his new-found
freedom? The issue here is one of character. Who, really, is he? I am confident
in him, but yet the answers to these questions can only be found in time, and in
the context of his new freedom. We will only discover his true nature as we see
how he handles himself.
Students are not the only ones who demonstrate
their character by how they handle freedom. Indeed, it is the same for all of
us. The apostle Paul wrote about freedom in Galatians. Freedom is not meant to
be about just doing “what I want,” which leads to all sorts of selfish
behaviour. Rather, the Christian demonstrates freedom in Christ differently.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23*)
Freedom is a test of character. We can use
freedom (freedom from others watching, freedom to spend our time or money as we
want) simply to indulge our own desires and pleasures, or we can use our freedom
to honour Jesus Christ. The choice is ours, and how we use our freedom shows who
we really are, the true nature of our character. We expect to find apples on
apple trees. Likewise, these are behaviours which people ought to find in us as
followers of Jesus Christ.
These verses are on my “top ten” list because
they are reminders to me, a kind of inventory to see how I’m doing. At times I
slip toward selfishness, but this group of character traits calls me
Hope this helps. Be on fire.
OnFire is a biweekly letter on faith and
character written by Troy Dennis. Troy is the Pastor of Family Ministries at
Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. This letter published Sept 7, 2012.
Scripture taken from New International Version, 1984. To subscribe or reply,
email email@example.com. Archives are located at www.onfireletter.com. Blog located at www.onfireletter.blogspot.com.