I’ve always had a fondness for Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the gang. I can remember feeling heart broken over the “little red-haired girl” on Valentine’s, being spooked over the arrival of the Great Pumpkin, waiting for Snoopy to float down the street in the Macy’s parade, sitting in silence as Linus told the meaning of Christmas, reading the comics in papaw’s Sunday paper . . . Peanuts were and are a huge part of me.
Winnie the Pooh was not truly introduced to me until Geoffrey was born. He fell in love with the willy, nilly, silly, old bear. Because of this, as you can imagine, the movie was replayed countless times. All of us familiar with the story can name all the guys . . . Tigger, Piglet, Kanga, Owl, Christopher Robin, and, of course, the resident pessimist, Eeyore.
Insert Romans 8:1: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” I memorized this verse as a growing “churchboy,” but never really grasped the true meaning of it. Of course, being the true churchboy I was, I had to memorize it in the King James Version as it was the only Bible and all other versions were just trash. One day, I discovered The Message, a paraphrase of scripture written to read like a novel. This is what I discovered in Romans 8: “With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud.” What??? Let’s go back and read that again. So I did . . . again and again and again. Suddenly, images of Charlie Brown and Eeyore filled my mind . . .
That’s the way I had lived my Christian life, always expecting the worst knowing that if something bad did happen it was because I had done something to cause it. When I read that, a light bulb popped on for the first time. We are not meant to live under a cloud of condemnation, guilt, and hopeless. We have been set free.
It has taken several years, and is still an ongoing process, but since that time, God has revealed a number of clouds that I have let hang over me in my life . . . guilt, low self-esteem, approval of others, and the biggest of all (and the true reason for the creation of this blog to begin with) the laws, rules, and man-made expectations of religion that God never intended or ever created us to live under to begin with.
What are your clouds? Romans 8 says you don’t have live under them any longer. It’s my prayer and hope that all reading this will learn to live out from under the clouds we have either placed or allowed to be placed over us by others. We have been set free. Galatians 5 form The Message says it this way: “Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you,” or, just in case you prefer to read the King James Version, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
So, take your stand, be free, and live outside the rain clouds!