Learning to Live in Freedom

Jennifer Maggio
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Jennifer Maggio is considered a leading authority on single parents and womens issues. She is an award-winning author and speaker who draws from her own experiences through abuse, homelessness, and teen pregnancy to inspire audiences everywhere. She is founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries and writes for dozens of publications. She has been featured with hundreds of media outlets, including The 700 Club, Daystar Television, Moody Radio, Focus on the Family, and many more. For more information, visit thelifeofasinglemom.com.

  • In the 15th century, European settlers began taking the land of Native Americans here in the U.S. It was 3 centuries before Native Americans finally gained specific rights & freedoms in our country that gave them the freedom to fully function as native tribes.
  • In the 18th century, slavery among African Americans peaked at 4 million. Four million people in our country were desperate for their freedom.
  • In 1848, the first women’s rights convention was held in New York. Women were desperate for the freedom to vote.
  • Today, there are 27 million people across the world who are considered modern-day slaves and suffering unspeakable sexual abuse through human trafficking.

You see, freedom through the years has always been a hot topic – something that people have desperately sought out & fought for. And each of those people groups was enslaved through no choice of their own.

And those are some sad statistics, huh?

Do you know what’s even sadder? That millions within the body of Christ are living enslaved in an entirely different way. If we are going to find true freedom in Christ…..we must first learn the things that we are bound to:

  • Our job.  – Our successes & failures there begin to define us.
  • Our marital status.
  • Our church.
  • Our friendships.
  • A new business or ministry opportunity.
  • Our perception of our physical beauty.
  • Fear
  • Unforgiveness
  • Bitterness
  • Anger
  • Worry

And the list can go on and on. We are constantly looking at other “things” in our lives, and they bind us, consume us, and keep us from living in complete freedom. We wrap it in Christianese and pretend not to be enslaved, but often --- too often -- we aren’t walking in freedom to Christ.

We begin to put our hope in things that will never fulfill us. We tie our identity into what we do. We live enslaved to those things and allow them to define us.  Parenthood. Position at your church. Your job. Relationships. Bank account size.  Those things are part of your life. They are not your life.

Fear becomes that thing we hold on too tightly to – that thing we won’t trust God with – our children, our marriage, our control. Marriages, unfortunately, fail. Children leave. Churches sometimes fall apart. Beauty fades. But one thing remains….one thing.

Until we learn to live in complete freedom in Christ Jesus, finding our value in Him alone, we will continue to live, enslaved, bound, exhausting lives.

The first step in embracing Christ’s freedom is to accept Him as your savior. For many of you reading, you have already done that. If you haven’t, I pray, right now, where you are, that you would truly turn your heart over to Jesus. Accept him. Understand your need for Him, as a sinner, and the eternal cost of separation from Him for your sins. Then, ask Him into your heart. It’s a decision you won’t ever regret. But what about all of you reading who have accepted Christ, and yet, you still struggle to find freedom? In order for you to find freedom, you must first understand what keeps you from living free: 

Our mouth – Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue can bring death or life;” Speak life. Some of us would rather complain about how much harder our lives are than the sister sitting next to us. Some of us would rather ask God why we have to go through this challenging thing we are walking through. We’d rather camp out in Verbal Suicide than begin to speak to our mountain and demand that it move. Too often, we’re comfortable in bondage. We don’t necessarily like it there, but at least we know what to expect. And so….we set up a tent, and we camp out there. And then we get mad at our sisters in Christ who are walking in joy….smiling, praising. We get mad at them and accuse them of being “fake.” But we never consider that maybe, just maybe, they are choosing to push through in spite of...they are speaking life to their mountains.

Our past – 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that “whoever belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; the new life has begun.” 

We are not called to keep our heads faced backward. Whatever our pasts, it was washed away when we became Christians. We walk with our heads faced forward, free from our past. Look at Hebrews 11. I love this book in the Bible – our big Chapter on Faith – the heroes of our faith.

Abraham was a liar. Noah was a drunk.  David was a murderer and adulterer. Moses was a murderer. Rahab was a prostitute. The heroes of our faith accomplished great things with their faith in God, but God chose to tell us the story behind the story – what happened in their pasts. Why? I’m convinced it’s so that we can know that our past doesn’t count us out!

We can either live bound by our past mistakes and failures, or we can live free by taking our place in the Kingdom!  We can choose to walk as a grace-filled, hopeful, forgiven, courageous, strong, warrior for the King each day.

Our Choice – Don’t believe me? Look at Exodus 13:17-18 “When Pharoah finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though it was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “if the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt. So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea.”

God knew that the Israelites who had been desperate for their freedom from slavery for years would go back to what he’d just set them free from if they ran into difficulties.

How many times have we run back to bondage that Christ has paid for us to be free from?

When Christ was on the cross, he said, “it is finished.” He didn’t say, “it MAY be finished.” Or, “it’s GOING to be finished.” Or, “SOME OF IT is finished.” He said, “it is finished.” What’s finished? The price of our salvation was bought and then paid for that day. What did Christ say just a few chapters before that?  I came so that you may have an abundant life.  Christ came so you may be free.

2 Corinthians 6:11-13, “I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively.

There are people in your lives, DESPERATE, to see Christ in you. They are hopeful that you will live free. If you don’t live free, then what do you have that the world would want? Every obstacle cannot cause us to stumble, questioning our faith, and who we are in Christ. An entire world is watching, and we’re their only hope.

 Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author and speaker, whose personal journey through homelessness, abuse, and multiple teen pregnancies is leaving audiences around the globe riveted. At 19, Maggio was pregnant for the fourth time, living in government housing on food stamps and welfare. She shares with great openness, her pain, mistakes, and journey to find hope in Christ. She ultimately became an 11-time Circle of Excellence winner in Corporate America. While a vocal advocate for abstinence, and sustaining today’s marriages,  Maggio recognizes that single parenthood exists and is passionate about seeing these parents thrive. She left her corporate successes behind to launch a global initiative to see single moms living a life of total freedom from financial failures, parenting woes, and emotional issues.  Her passion is contagious, and her story has been used to inspire thousands around the globe. Today, Jennifer works to ensure that no single mom walks alone as the founder of the national profit, The Life of a Single Mom. For more information and resources, visit the website HERE

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About Jennifer Maggio

 

Jennifer Maggio is considered a leading authority on single parents and womens issues. She is an award-winning author and speaker who draws from her own experiences through abuse, homelessness, and teen pregnancy to inspire audiences everywhere. She is founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries and writes for dozens of publications. She has been featured with hundreds of media outlets, including The 700 Club, Daystar Television, Moody Radio, Focus on the Family, and many more. For more information, visit thelifeofasinglemom.com.